October 14, 2015
Facebook is focusing full-bore on shopping with an array of new features. But the most prominent is a new Shopping feed that aggregates posts and photos from different retailers for specific products. The Shopping feed is being tested as a way to pull out all the products being showcased by retailers on their own Facebook pages. Facebook is also allowing retailers to host entire product catalogs on Facebook pages — what the company is calling “immersive ads” — as opposed to sending users to a mobile browser.
TechCrunch reports that other shopping-related features that Facebook is pushing include “its in-feed Buy button, carousel product ads, and new Shopping sections of mobile Pages that’s designed to be an alternative or supplement to retailers needing their own mobile commerce apps or sites.”
Why all the emphasis on shopping? A recent company survey revealed that 50 percent of Facebook users go to the social media site looking for products. “The Shopping feed could pull those out of the chaos of friends and news in the main feed,” says TechCrunch, which notes the feed can be accessed from the Favorites section of the Facebook app’s navigation menu.
Facebook tested keyword ads in 2012 when it allowed game developers to appear at the top of search results for their competitors, but the test never became an actual feature. The Shopping feed, notes TechCrunch, could be “the perfect channel for these traditional keyword ads,” although features found in the navigation menu can be easily overlooked by users.
The new immersive ad format, which Facebook now dubs “Canvas,” lets users browse through products in a “fast-loading, full-screen experience” and then zoom in to see details; with a click, the user is taken to the relevant retailer’s website. The seamless nature of that experience can break down, however, if the retailer’s website hasn’t been optimized for mobile phones.
For more details, visit Facebook’s blog post: Connecting People to Brands and Products on Mobile.