Facebook’s Product Ads target specific products to those most likely to buy them

A potentially game-changing development from Facebook Ads means that any brand with multiple products to sell can now upload their entire catalogue into the platform, and the automated system will target specific products to those people most likely to buy them across the devices that they use most often.

Sound complicated? Well, it is and it isn’t.

Typically, we either have to design specific campaigns for specific products targeted to specific audiences. This is not as efficient as it should be, as it takes a long time and is essentially trial-and-error. There is a fine line between using the right ad creative, the product being advertised, and the users being targeted – and if any one of those is slightly wrong, ROI could be seriously hindered.

But the new product ads seems to take care of all of those variables dynamically and automatically. Through likes, cookies, ad clicks etc., Facebook already knows what you like, what you buy, and where you buy it from. So the process, in theory, is as simple as uploading your whole suite of products and Facebook will do the rest.

The ads also include a new format for showing off multiple products, and they can update based on inventory data, and even remove items from ads if they go out-of-stock. There are also targeted ads for people who visited particular pages on a brand’s website or app, or to viewers in specific locations or with specific interests – and all automatically. No more time spent filtering through your audiences and their affiliations.

This is not to say that you don’t retain overall control of your campaigns. Ads are still customisable and you maintain the right to override which ads are being seen by a certain group, should you want to. For instance, you can highlight products that are mostly viewed via your mobile site or app, and ensure that only those products go to mobile or tablet. You can also create a multi-product ad that highlights the different benefits of a single product.

Early adopters and testers of the new tool are already seeing impressive results. According to Facebook’s blog (read into that what you will), US brand Shutterfly has seen click-through rates increase by 20%, while another American brand, Target, has seen conversion rates double for ads targeted to mobile users.

These are figures worth taking note of, but it remains to be seen whether the dynamic product ads will remain the folly of big retailers with vast swathes of products (and cash), or whether smaller brands could see similarly impressive results. One to keep an eye on.

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