Like it or not, Facebook ads just got even smarter. On Tuesday, the social network announced Product Ads, a set of tools that let businesses more effectively Facebook’s 1.4 billion users with a new automated process. This acts as a competitor to Google’s Shopping advertising service, allowing marketers to show users some or all their product catalogs.
With Product Ads, Facebook is challenging one of Google’s most successful new businesses in recent years. Previously called product-listing ads, Google started offering the ads which typically include pictures and prices, in 2012 to compete with Amazon.com.
The ads are more targeted on mobile and it is easier to do the targeting, says Ackley. The more targeted social media becomes the more of a threat it is to Google.
Though Product Ads, business who upload their product catalogs to Facebook can manually create ad campaigns. The other more compelling option is to let Facebook do the heavy-lifting, automatically creating campaigns and targeting various kinds of users with ads it thinks will perform well, based on the things like users’ interests, general location and whether they have already been to the advertisers app or website. This technique is called re-targeting.
The re-targeting and mobile aspects of this are critical for retailers, says David Spitz, chief operating officer at ChannelAdvisor, which helps more than 1,000 merchants sell and market products through online marketplaces and website including Amazon.com and Google Shopping.
In a Facebook first, businesses can also now create ads that promote several products at once. Ads that used to be static now act as digital carousels of content, with up to five product images rotating through, like in the image below:
Product Ads could prove useful to businesses with deep inventories of attractive products like furniture, clothing, and so on. It is also a potential win for Facebook, which gets the majority of its growing revenues via advertising on desktop and mobiles.
The online retail market has been growing exponentially. With this market growth, e-marketers increasingly have a requirement for tools that will help them capture potential customer data in real-time – and automate where possible. Google has had a good model to date, but this announcement from Facebook is a strong challenge.