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Innovating the Ad Experience via Collection

Facebook innovated a great new feature, revolutionising the ad experience by introducing a new advertising format: Collection. With its newest advertising format, Facebook is building a great new shopping experience, helping marketers to really drive sales in mobile.

4 min read

Facebook innovating the Ad Experience via ‘Collection’

Facebook innovated a great new feature, revolutionising the ad experience by introducing a new advertising format: Collection. With its newest advertising format, Facebook is building a great new shopping experience, helping marketers to really drive sales in mobile. Collection, designed to increase the chance of discovery and purchase, is featuring a creative video or image above relevant product images.

Following major trends

Collections is taking advantage of a number of broader trends that we’ve noticed recently: the growth of mobile commerce and video and the increasing importance of fast performance on smartphones.

Mobile has redefined how people discover, learn and ultimately buy from businesses. So far, mobile shopping experiences haven’t been that great with long load times leading to drop-offs along the path to purchase.

Videos are also more watched on mobile. In fact, three in four consumers say that watching videos on social media influences their purchasing decisions. People want to see products as they exist in the real world, but they are also expecting fast-loading and a smooth experience when buying on mobile. Taking these two major trends into consideration, it seems logical for Facebook to introduce Collection.

‘Collection is, at its core, a new ad experience that we’ve built specifically for news feed, to drive product discovery and sales through an engaging format in a fast-loading shopping experience,’ said Facebook’s director of product marketing, Maz Sharafi.

How does it work

The ad shows up in the Newsfeed of the user, displaying an image or video followed by four product images. Brands can select the four products to feature themselves or leave it up to Facebook, which will decide based on which products in a brand’s uploaded list are most popular or that it thinks will appeal to the individual seeing the ad. So, Under Armour, for example, could use a video of Golden State Warriors’ star Steph Curry’s journey in the NBA as its spotlight content, and display his shoes, apparel, and more underneath.

When users click on the ad, they will be taken to another page within Facebook, one featuring an immersive display of up to 50 products, based on the ones that are most popular and that a person is most likely to buy. This product catalog will load instantly, since it’s hosted within Facebook. Facebook then features a photo for each item in the catalog as well as its price and name. In the end, people can click on an individual item which links to the corresponding product page on the advertiser’s site or mobile app.

An example of Facebook’s new ad format from Adidas

Paying based on Facebook advertising objectives

You might hope your ads to drive people to buy your product but that’s not necessarily what you’re paying Facebook for. Advertisers can buy Collection ads based on one of two Facebook advertising objectives: traffic or conversions. If you pick traffic, then you’ll get charged based on the number of times people click on the initial ad to open the product catalog. If you opt for conversions, then Facebook will aim the ad at the people it thinks are most likely to click through to the advertiser’s site or app but will charge you based on the number of times the ad appeared in people’s news feeds.

What’s the pro for advertisers?

While advertisers can choose the first four products that show up in the Collection, the rest is automatically selected by Facebook aiming to create an experience that’s as relevant as possible for the consumer. Facebook is basically doing the heavy lifting of choosing the right products based on the merchant’s preferences and on user targeting. Brands can use Collection to convince users to make a purchase by showing an engaging video and displaying related products.

You might think, hey, Facebook already offers Carousel ads and Canvas ads. Carousel ads, however, are for brands who want to sell specific products and are limited in terms of storytelling. Canvas ads are immersive, but they don’t really highlight products for you to purchase. Collection, therefore, solves these issues by giving you a more integrated brand experience.

New way of measuring results

To help brands better track results, Facebook is testing a new outbound clicks metric over the coming weeks, which is optimised for more creative ad formats like Canvas and Collection. Link clicks measure the times people click to open the ad’s immersive experience within Facebook, and outbound clicks will measure the times people click from the ad to visit the advertiser’s site or app. When you have creative ads such as Collection ads, it can be challenging to track exactly where the clicks came from. With the outbound click metric, however, you’ll know exactly when someone leaves Facebook through an ad. This will give you a clearer picture of people’s paths through the entire ads experience. As the outbound clicks are developed, Facebook will apply the same filtering on Instagram to show outbound clicks only for clicks off Facebook-owned properties.

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