Look Out, Amazon: Facebook Testing Dedicated Shopping Area & “Canvas” Ads For Retailers
The social network continues e-commerce push by creating a separate feed for shoppers and extending its immersive mobile ad unit to merchants' catalogues.
Facebook continues to push the Facebook shopping cart forward.
Today, the social network introduced tests of two new e-commerce features, a dedicated shopping feed to give people a place to find products outside their News Feeds and an expansion to merchants of an immersive ad unit that will give people a fast-loading full-screen catalogue of items to buy.
Both new features are intended to make it likelier — and easier — for people to buy things on Facebook and give businesses more effective ways to reach people in a buying mood. The jury is still out on whether people want to shop where they socialize, but like Twitter and Pinterest, Facebook is moving ahead.
A Facebook survey showed that nearly half of its users come to Facebook to actively look for products, so the company is giving them a way to zero in on things to buy. Users, at least the limited number of people to whom Facebook will show this test, will be able to access the feed from the favorites section of the Facebook app. They will be presented products based on their likes, interests and Facebook connections, and they also will be able to search within the feed.
Products listed in the shopping feed will come from the limited set of merchants who are already testing Shop sections, the product pages that Facebook introduced last month. Facebook said it is looking into including other content within the shopping feed, including items listed for sale within Facebook Groups.
Additionally, Facebook is extending access to its immersive ad unit to e-commerce merchants. The ads, unveiled at Cannes in June and now called Canvas, are an effort to jazz up the mobile ad-viewing experience. Now, merchants will be able to buy ads that display their catalogues in the format. Users who tap an ad will be presented with full-screen and optionally multi-media product pages. giving them the opportunity to browse before going to a company’s site to make purchases.
For now, Facebook won’t be including its Buy button in the ad unit, but you can bet that it will eventually be added.
Read more about Facebook’s latest moves here: What Marketers Need To Know About Facebook’s New & Existing Product Ads.