Facebook's new Collection ad unit aims to bridge mobile video, commerce
- Facebook has rolled out a new, mobile-centric video ad format called Collection that is already being used by Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger, the company announced in a blog post.
- Collections are built on a "primary video" or image that, when clicked on, takes viewers to an immersive, fast-loading page that can include up to 50 products. By tapping on a specific product, users are redirected to the product page on a retailer's own website or app where they can complete their purchase.
- The Facebook blog post cited research that suggests 45% of all shopping journeys include a mobile action, but also that slow load times cause friction in that process.
The mobile Collection format arrives at a time when Facebook is searching for new revenue streams outside of traditional display advertising on its News Feed, with video marketing becoming a core focus. Social commerce has interestingly never been an area where the platform has thrived despite its best efforts, as Recode points out; however, Facebook has seen some traction with a shoppable offering similar to Collections on its image-sharing app Instagram.
Shoppable Instagram photos recently expanded to more businesses after successful early tests with 20 major retail brands. For marketers and retailers, tap-and-shop products like Collection should prove a major boon in lessening the steps and friction between a consumer seeing an ad and actually moving to purchase the advertised product.
"Collection creates a consumer experience that reflects how current generations of digital natives interact with their favorite brands," Avery Baker, chief brand officer at Tommy Hilfiger, said in a statement on the Facebook blog post. "The results exceeded expectations, generating an ROI increase of over 200%."
Providing marketers with a new ad format that optimizes the mobile experience is also in line with Facebook’s growing mobile-centric strategy. In its Q4 earnings report, the company stated 84% of its advertising revenue came from mobile ads, up 80% from the year-ago period.
Having a video element was also important to the creation of Collections, per the blog post, which pointed out that 75% of consumers said watching video on social media influences purchase decisions.
Facebook added that it's testing a new outbound click metric to provide more insight into ad formats that open into full-screen experiences like Collection or its older Canvas offering. The new metric will show the number of clicks taking ad viewers off of Facebook.
For Instagram marketers, clicks that lead to Facebook — such as brand Pages — will be reported as outbound clicks. Eventually, Facebook will change that to only label clicks as outbound if they lead off of Facebook-owned properties, pointing to how the company is continuing to try and keep both brands and users within its walled garden of products.
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