Facebook Launches New Ad Format for Local Retailers, But Is It Worth It?

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Following last week’s news that Facebook is adding new shopping features to their Messenger app, the world’s largest social media network again made headlines with a new plan to help local social media marketers increase sales. Facebook is launching a new product listing ad format where local, brick and mortar retailers can let shoppers know about item availability.

“For us solving for this mobile-to-store challenge is one of the biggest and most important opportunities for us to be spending our mindshare on,” said Facebook director of monetization product marketing Maz Sharafi.

These new Dynamic Ads for Retail are arriving just in time for holiday shoppers. Facebook’s new ad format highlights available products at nearby stores. They have also added better targeting features that make it easier to sim those ads at people who are most likely to make it into the store.

According to reports on the upcoming features, “To ensure that product availability information is accurate, Facebook is requiring participating retailers to update their store-specific inventory catalogs at least once every 24 hours. And like Local Awareness ads, the ads can include maps with directions on how to get to the store, as well as contact information.”

However, there are other pieces of recently released data that suggests business owners may want to slowly move into this realm of selling through social media. Social media platforms are great for letting consumers know about product information or about the business in general. However, monetizing these platforms have been problematic.

According to a recent report from SUMOHeavy, though many social media platforms have added methods for directly buying content from the platform, relatively few people are taking advantage of it.

SUMO Heavy’s survey of 1,000 U.S.consumers found that one in four (26.4%) of those consumers surveyed by SUMOHeavy had never heard of social buy buttons. It gets worse when you realize that of the few who have heard of them, nearly half (48 percent) say they never use them.

It’s not all bad news. Though many are unaware of these kinds of features, there is hope for greater adoption in the future. SUMO Heavy’s report notes that nearly a fifth (18%) were open to the idea. And though small, 2 percent said they made a purchase using them without planning to at the start of their browsing session. This means that if marketers and Facebook promote these features more, there is a chance people will use them.

Though there’s clearly more to be than increasing awareness. Only 7.3 percent of SUMOHeavy respondents who had shopped via a social platform said they would do so again. This means that Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other platforms need to improve these features so they are more user friendly.

Perhaps Facebook’s new format for PLAs will help the network become a bigger portal for shopping than it is for simply informing consumers about businesses and products for sale.

For more recent news about local marketing, read this article on consumers increasingly rely on mobile tools to aid them in in-store and online shoppings.


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