Facebook has introduced a new ad format it calls Collection. Brands can use it to try to convince shoppers to make a purchase by showing an engaging video and displaying related products. This is perhaps one of the more immersive formats the company offers, and it’s rolling out globally today.
In addition, Facebook is testing a new metric called “outbound clicks” to help advertisers better understand who actually leaves the social network and goes to their website.
With Collection, brands can use a video or image to highlight the story or message they want to tell. Underneath will be a set of four products, either dynamically arranged by product popularity or manually organized. So Under Armour could use a video of Golden State Warriors’ star Steph Curry’s journey in the NBA as its spotlight content, and could display his shoes, apparel, and more underneath.
The hope is that you’ll be drawn into the Collection ad and will click on it. When you do, you’ll be taken to another page within Facebook, one featuring an immersive display of up to 50 products, sorted by relevance. The page would be set up like an Instant Article to help those on mobile shop more easily. Only when you find a product you want to purchase will you be routed from Facebook to the advertiser’s own website to complete the transaction.
A big part of the Collection ads will hinge on having brands sync their product catalog with Facebook so the social network knows which products are worth highlighting.
Maz Sharafi, Facebook’s director of product marketing, claimed that Collection ads will help people “shop more seamlessly” and that early testing saw good results. He cites Adidas as an example, saying that the sports apparel brand used the ad format to drive sales for its Z.N.E. Road Trip hoodie and related products, resulting in a 5.3 times return on ad spend.
Facebook already offers carousel ads to brands who want to sell specific products, but these ads are limited in terms of storytelling. There are also canvas ads, which are immersive, but they don’t really highlight products for you to purchase. Collection could solve both of these issues by giving you a more integrated experience.
But Sharafi remains adamant that all the ad formats are important and explained that it’s all about giving marketers “a number of options.” That said, he’s excited about Collection ads, which he said “combine a format with a shopping experience. There’s nothing quite like that.”
In order to help brands better track results, Facebook is also introducing its outbound click metric, which is optimized for more creative ad formats, like canvas and Collection, and promises to give marketers a clearer view of the path customers take. Right now, there’s a link click metric that shows the clicks coming from the News Feed, but when you have creative ads, it can be difficult to know exactly where the clicks came from. With the outbound click metric, you’ll now know when someone leaves Facebook through an ad.
“One of the things we’re trying to do with the introduction of a new metric is providing more clarity and transparency,” Sharafi said. “In the scenario of Adidas using Collection, in a world where you don’t have an outbound click, you wouldn’t be able to tell which click happened from the News Feed where people have opened the immersive experience and which clicks happened within Collection.”
Outbound clicks are available in beta today, and Collection ads are rolling out globally over the next few weeks.