Facebook is testing new features on its business pages which are designed to improve the shopping experience and make it easier for shoppers to find new products from mobile devices. Here the company explains the changes and the thinking behind them
Connecting people to brands and products on mobile
People have shifted to mobile. It’s the fastest adoption of a communication technology in history, and it’s changing how we connect with each other and discover new things. Businesses, however, are still making the shift.
Marketers are challenged to reach their customers and drive sales on mobile. The majority of time spent on mobile is in apps, and people spend the majority of that time in just a handful of apps, including Facebook and Instagram.* For people, the mobile shopping experience is often difficult to navigate. Customers can experience slow load times and too many steps on the way to checkout. This is bad for people and bad for marketers.
On Facebook we’ve seen that people are coming to our platform not only to connect with friends and family but also with products and brands. In fact, a survey suggested that nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products, with a majority of them discovering new products in News Feed, Pages, and Groups.
This behavior – that’s already happening on Facebook – gives us a chance to make people and marketers’ experiences better. We want to build native experiences that make it easier for both people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales.
Some of our efforts are fully launched and are already creating value for people and businesses; others are in early test phases. These tests will evolve as we get more feedback.
Proven solutions that drive sales: product ads for news feed
Last year we introduced the carousel format for Facebook ads, which lets advertisers showcase multiple product images and links in one ad. Based on our preliminary testing, advertisers have seen carousel link ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion. We’ve also brought carousel to Instagram ads and have recently made video available for this format.
Retailers are seeing strong results when using carousel format to bring their creative to life in dynamic product ads. With dynamic product ads marketers can upload their product catalog and let Facebook automatically deliver the most relevant products to people. They can showcase multiple products with the carousel format, enabling people to easily browse and discover on mobile.
Neiman Marcus used the carousel format to drive 3x more conversions and 85% better click-through rates compared to other advertising efforts
Early tests we’re running
Ad experiences to enable more seamless shopping
Canvas: A new native way to browse from ads
When people click on products from ads in their News Feed, the mobile websites they’re directed to often take a while to load and aren’t optimized, increasing the chance that people will drop off.
That’s why we’re testing a new ad experience called Canvas that helps businesses drive any advertising objective, from brand building to driving sales. We’ve been testing Canvas with a number of businesses since we first unveiled this in June. Over the coming weeks we’ll begin testing a new experience on Canvas. After clicking on an ad, people will see a fast-loading, full-screen experience where they can browse through a variety of products, before going to the retailer’s website to purchase.
“Buy” call-to-action button: Making purchases easier on mobile
We’ve already been testing this feature on ads to give marketers a more seamless way to drive sales with people interested in their products. People on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” button in ads in News Feed to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook.
Pages as a retailer’s mobile solution: Shop section
With over one billion people visiting Pages every month, people are already turning to Pages to learn more about businesses. That’s why we’re adding more ways for Page owners to showcase their products to people, including a recently announced Shop section. Businesses can choose to have this section link off to their own retail websites, or they can test a way for people to buy directly on their Pages.
Single place for product discovery and distribution: new shopping feature in Favorites
We’ve also seen that people discover new products across multiple areas on Facebook – News Feed, Pages, and Groups. In the coming weeks we’ll begin testing a single place for people to more easily discover, share, and purchase products. We’re testing with a limited set of small businesses in the US who are also testing the Shop section on Pages; their products will be eligible to appear there. Over time we’ll explore incorporating additional content into this experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.
Across each of these formats – from proven ad products such as carousel and dynamic products ads to new tests – our goal is to make it easier for people to discover relevant products on mobile while also driving results for businesses. We’ll share more details as we learn from the tests. Learn more about how to get started promoting your products on Facebook today.
Matt Idema, VP of monetization product marketing, said: “People are increasingly discovering products on mobile and Facebook, yet the shopping experience could be better. What we’re doing – with proven products like carousel ads and new products we’re testing – is making it easier for people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive sales.”
* US comScore data August, 2015