- Facebook announced that it's testing two ad formats to support direct sales for marketers while helping to eliminate an estimated $213 billion lost to friction during online checkouts, Marketing Land reported.
- The first ad format adds in-app checkout features for dynamic ads placed in Facebook's news feed. The feature lets users buy products they see in ads without leaving the social networking app. The test format is currently limited to a small group of advertisers.
- The second format lets marketers turn shopping posts on Instagram into ads by using the social network's Ads Manager dashboard. Shoppers who tap on the ads will see a product description page within the Instagram app and can make a purchase from the advertiser's mobile site. Instagram is testing the format over the next few months and plans to later test a checkout feature as part of these ads, per a company blog post.
Facebook aims to build on the growing trend of social shopping as consumers respond directly to ads they see in mobile apps. Social commerce is the top new retail technology among U.S. internet users, ahead of visual search, augmented or virtual realty (AR/VR) and voice commerce through smart speakers, per a Bizrate Insights survey cited by eMarketer. More than one-third (34%) of adults said they had made a purchase through social media, up from 29% last year, while another 27% said they were interested in social shopping, the survey found.
Facebook is among the social media companies that have prioritized shopping features in their apps. Snapchat last year added a "Shop and Cop" channel to the Discover section of its image-messaging app, and Pinterest in June expanded its third-party partner program to support more shopping experiences and rolled out browsable catalogs in July.
Mobile shopping has become a bigger priority for Facebook as the social network faces greater competition from retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target that are in various stages of building out digital media networks to bring advertisers closer to shoppers. Amazon's growth into a digital advertising giant will threaten Google and Facebook, transforming their current "duopoly" status into a "triopoly," Forrester Research said in a recent report. Walmart in April acquired Polymorph Labs to expand its ad services, while Target in May rebranded its Target Media Network to Roundel as part of an expansion into deeper ad integrations on Target.com and 150 other "brand-safe" platforms like Pinterest, PopSugar and NBCUniversal.