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Why Advertisers Love Collection Ads

With the busy Christmas period and the second half of the holiday season fast approaching, customers have already started to loosen their purse strings. Whilst many get ready to face the cold temperatures and hit the high streets for their shopping sprees, others prefer to shop from the comfort of their home. Though many turn to their laptops, PCs or tablets for their home shopping, the number of mobile device shoppers has been steadily increasing in the past few years. Smartphones have not only changed the way we behave and connect with people, but also the way we shop. The question here, though, is which ad format advertisers can use to best reach their audiences through their mobile devices. We examine the impact that collection ads have had on advertisers and shoppers alike.

What is a Collection Ad?

A Collection Ad is an ad format that typically includes either a cover image or video, followed by four product images underneath it. The product images are a part of the product catalogue that an advertiser uploads to Facebook or Instagram, appearing on users' newsfeed. 

With regards to cover content, videos are most commonly used, since nowadays, people are watching more videos on their mobile than ever before, and they like seeing the products in action before deciding to make any purchasing decision.

Once someone clicks on a collection ad, they’ll be directed to an Instant Experience, which is a full-screen experience that drives engagement and can help in generating interest and intent. This highly interactive ad format was formerly known as the ‘Canvas ad’ before Facebook decided to change its name as well as add to its range of capabilities. Instant Experience ads now impressively load 15 times faster than standard mobile websites, allowing brands and businesses to seamlessly connect with their users.

Screenshot Facebook Instant Experience Ads

Once users have tapped on an ad, customers will be able to comfortably browse for more products in the catalogue or find out more about the features of a specific product. Facebook said this about their feature: “Facebook Instant Experience ads load instantly, they're mobile-optimised and designed to capture the complete attention of your audience. Within an Instant Experience, people can watch engaging videos and photos, swipe through carousels, tilt to pan and explore lifestyle images with tagged products – all in a single ad.”

This fast-loading feature enables advertisers to offer viewers an immersive, interactive ad format, which is hosted completely on Facebook, meaning customers can look at and engage with the mobile content without having to leave the app and go on to the seller’s website. However, should they be interested in doing so, they could proceed on to the external website in order to complete a purchase.

Now you might be thinking: Well, we already have the Carousel Ad format, which allows me to look at either several products or various features of a single product within a single ad unit. Think again. What’s lacking here is a form of storytelling, an experience that adds value to the whole journey. And whilst other may suggest that Instant Experience ads on their own could also do the trick, they don’t highlight specific products for customers to purchase.

That’s why, both of the aforementioned issues can be resolved with the help of Collection Ads, by integrating the two experiences with each other, offering you the best of both worlds, and an incisive, visually engaging and highly informative journey for the customer.

Product Catalogue

The main component of a Collection Ad is the product catalogue, as without it, you have nothing to show your customers. In terms of developing the catalogue, there are two different ways of approaching this.

1) Automated Product Set: This option allows you to create your product set with the help of an automation process. First you set up the product set, and then you set up the conditions and criteria for the products that you would like to see appear in your set according to e.g. availability, brand, category, product type, price etc. This will allow new products to dynamically appear in your ad. The overall organisation of your set will be determined according to the popularity or relevance towards the customer that is viewing your ad.

2) Manual Collection: For this ad set, you assume full control of exactly what customers can see from your product catalogue. This also means your product set won’t be automatically updated and will remain the same until you decide to change it yourself. Although manual collections take more time, they can be quite handy for smaller businesses with smaller and more specialised products on offer.

Objectives of Collection Ads

Collection Ads can help you achieve some of the goals you have set for your business social strategy. Facebook have outlined their 4 goals and objectives for Collection Ads, which come with different Instant Experience templates. They are as follows:

Instant Storefront

  • This template is mainly recommended for use when your catalogue includes four or more products.
  • That’s because it allows you to display your products in a grid, giving users the opportunity to browse through your products in one place.
  • It helps encourage people to visit your website or app and complete a transaction.
  • Allows you to dynamically organise your products into relevant groupings e.g. “Suggested for you” or “Most viewed”.

Instant Lookbook

  • This template is perfect for showing users what your product looks like in action.
  • Allows you to create a digital version of an already existing print catalogue.
  • Gives you the chance to tell a story about your brand which can persuade viewers to make a purchase.

Instant Customer Acquisition

  • Use this template when your aim is to drive conversion on your mobile landing page.
  • Also good to use when you want users to make a specific move or complete a certain conversion on your website or app.
  • Ideal for showcasing high-resolution videos or images that help you make your offers more attractive.

Instant Storytelling

  • Finally, this format is ideal when trying to offer your viewers a highly engaging way of discovering your business.
  • Use this template if you have appealing images or videos that allow you to tell a nice story about your brand or product.
  • Works well when trying to get people to learn more about your brand by visiting your website or mobile app.

Best Practices

This is what Avery Baker, Chief Brand Officer at Tommy Hilfiger, said about the Collection Ad format:

“We took our video assets to the next level, through integrating shopping functionality. Collection creates a consumer experience that reflects how current generations of digital natives interact with their favourite brands. The results exceeded expectations, generating an ROI increase of over 200%.”

With potential results like that in mind, let’s think of some of the best practices that we haven’t mentioned yet. Definitely keep these in mind if you’re thinking of developing collection ads!

  • Mobile phone users have little patience, so make sure you capture their attention from the start of the video with appealing content.
  • Your main photo or video should attempt to convey a message or provide a story about the brand or the products in order to persuade customers to find out more and check out your mobile site or app.
  • Considering many people don’t turn up their volume for ads, make sure your Instant Experience video also makes sense without any sound.
  • Include a strong call-to-action in your header.
  • Emphasise on the diversity of your product set. The larger your product range, the better and the more likely customers will find something they want to purchase.
  • Install the Facebook Pixel! It has now been made possible for businesses to integrate the Facebook pixel into their Instant Experience, enabling them to obtain more detailed data and accurate insights about their visitors' online behaviour.
  • Measure your performances. Embed third-party pixels (e.g. Google Analytics) within your Instant Experience ad, allowing you to track the engagement levels and compare your Instant Experience campaign performance to other campaigns.
  • Think of any new triggers, trending topics, specific audiences, sales etc. that can be included in the creation of your collection ad.
  • Optimise your mobile site or app, a weak mobile experience will guarantee your results are also poor, regardless of the quality of our creative ad.

Design Specifications & Technical Requirements

  • Image or video: The cover image or video that displays in your collection ad uses the first media asset from your full-screen Instant Experience
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels recommended
  • Less than 20% of your image should include text. Ads with higher amounts of text will receive less or no delivery.
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Minimum image width in pixels: 600
  • Minimum image height in pixels: 600
  • Aspect ratio tolerance : 3%

Your Thoughts

Now that you know everything you need to know about Collection Ads, we would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on this ad format. Is your company using this for their social strategy? Why (not)? Let us know in the comments section below! And before you go, if you have you signed up with The Next Ad yet? There is no better time to do so than now! Enjoy a free two week trial with no strings attached by signing up below!

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