- Facebook is testing news feed ads that allow retailers to promote multiple products in a multi-level format, Adweek reports.
- Lowe's and Michael Kors are among retailers already testing the new ads, which use a primary image or video along with related product images underneath. Clicking brings up a second page with additional products, and another click leads to the advertiser's website.
- The move comes just a week after Facebook announced that brands operating chatbots on its Messenger platform may now purchase news feed ads that connect directly to their chatbots.
Facebook is clearly on a mission to enrich its news feed ads to provide more value for advertisers, and offer more reason for companies to buy ads in its news feeds. The new format undergoing testing is just the latest step in that direction. It not only comes just on the heels of the capability to link ads to chatbots, but also a couple of weeks after Facebook-owned Instagram announced testing of shoppable photos containing product information and connecting back to retailer websites.
The social network appears to be amping up its advertising capabilities on all fronts. Back in September, Facebook also enabled Dynamic Ads to help brick-and-mortar retailers structure ad campaigns that have awareness of retailer inventory, and can be shut off when products being advertised sell out.
The testing of the new format seems to still be in its early stages, but Michael Kors has already seen its cost per conversion drop sharply. At a time when retailers are seeing more shopper traffic online (especially from mobile devices) but having trouble converting those eyeballs into completed purchases, it will be interesting to see if retailers that start using this new format actually report an increase in conversions. If so, it could inspire changes in how advertising is presented elsewhere beyond Facebook.
There was a time when retailers and other companies may have not known what they wanted to do or how far they wanted to go with advertising through Facebook, but a lot happened to change that: Facebook has enabled richer, more valuable advertising capabilities, as demonstrated here, but retailers also advanced far enough with their own e-commerce and other technology efforts that they are able to do more with chatbots and other tools to appeal to the social giant's huge membership.
On top of all that — or maybe because of all that — Facebook is quickly evolving into a massive shopping platform right before our eyes. It may not be massively effective yet, but it's getting closer.