Facebook has announced a new video ad format designed to get people buying products from eCommerce stores. The network thinks the new format – called Collection ads – will allow brands to tell a more visual product story and tempt people to buy.

Facebook says major brands like Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger are already using Collection ads to drive sales. So could this be the ad format that turns Facebook into an indispensable sales tool for online retailers and eCommerce brands?

Carousel ads: a more visual product story

As you can see from the image above, Collection ads are basically regular video ads with some product images slapped on the bottom. The idea being you can run these with a video ad promoting a product line and give users the option to buy the items featured in your ads there and then. Of course, you could just as easily run an ad for a single product and list related products alongside it in the Collection format – or variations of the same products (different sizes, colours, etc.).

Once users click a product image or the “more” link, a product feed will popup with the process and basic description for each product. You can showcase up to 50 products on any given collections ad and Facebook is reassuring us the experience will remain immersive and fast, no matter how many products you list.

Facebook sending users to eCommerce sites

At this point users are still on Facebook, not your site, and they won’t be able to by your products from within the network. To make the purchase users will have to click a specific product in the feed, which will take them to the relevant product page on your site.

The downside to users not being able to purchase products directly in Facebook is it adds extra stages to the buying process. The upside is, once users click through to your site, that traffic is yours, allowing you to collect data on their actions, target them with remarketing ads and control the sales funnel.

At the expense of adding an extra step or so in the buying process, you have to say sending traffic to sites is a welcome approach – and a significant one given the usual tactic of holding on to users from Facebook and Google these days. All that remains to be seen is how well the new Collections ad format does at converting Facebook users into paying customers for eCommerce brands.

Are you excited about the prospect of the new Collections ad format?  Let us know your thoughts and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions about them or other aspects of your Facebook advertising efforts.