This is interesting.

As Facebook continues to expand its eCommerce push, it’s now giving advertisers the option to direct ‘approximately 10%’ of the traffic generated by their conversion ads to their Facebook and Instagram Shops instead.

Facebook Shops optimization

As you can see in this example, posted by eCommerce ads expert Tony Christensen, Facebook is now prompting some advertisers who also have a Facebook and/or Instagram shop set up to direct a portion of their campaign response to their in-app store, instead of to a third-party link.

Facebook further notes that the process will provide it with more data to help optimize its traffic direction processes, and ensure that it’s driving people to the surface where they’re most likely to convert, while Facebook also says that, for those that do opt into this process, it’ll cover the estimated cost of impressions which direct traffic to shops.

Which is a significant consideration – and at 10% of your overall ad traffic, that could be an impactful amount, depending on your brand, campaign, etc.

But it could also help Facebook to optimize your future ad approaches. If, for example, Facebook’s data is able to determine which people among your audience are more likely to convert on Facebook, as opposed to driving them to your website, it could then use that insight to target your future campaigns, and funnel them off to the exact right spot to encourage purchase.

You would assume that the main focus within this cohort would be users who’ve already purchased products from another Facebook/IG shop, or on Facebook Marketplace, as Facebook would know that they’re more likely to buy in-app, based on past behavior. But the more Facebook can learn about the specific traits of people more likely to buy from each, the more its systems can learn where to direct others, which could then have significant flow-on benefits for future campaigns.

Then again, it also likely relates to Apple’s ATT update, which has seen many people opt out of in-app tracking, which essentially leaves Facebook blind to conversions made outside of its own apps. In this respect, Facebook likely needs to gather more data on Facebook and Instagram Shops conversions so it can ensure maximum performance within its own tools, which then lessens the impact of the ATT update because it’s still able to keep a record of that activity.

If Facebook can gather more insight, and ensure that retailers generate better performance by optimizing for Facebook and IG shops instead, that would be a big win – which would be why it’s willing to cover the costs of impressions to shops through this option.

It’s an interesting consideration either way, and as noted, with Facebook looking to make a bigger push into eCommerce, and selling products in-stream, it may well be that its reach and data-matching does eventually provide a better avenue to maximize conversions, negating Apple’s update.

On this front, and in addition to Shops, Facebook has also launched live-stream shopping events (on both Facebook and Instagram), Shops on Marketplace, and sponsored product listings within the Instagram Shop tab.

Instagram Shop tab ads

It’s also testing a Pinterest-like visual search tool that will enable users to enable users to scan a real world item, or use any uploaded photo or video, to find similar product listings, while it’s also experimenting with automated object tags that could eventually provide more direct product options linked to each clip.

The big focus here is on Asian markets, where Facebook is gaining significant traction, and if it can expand its eCommerce potential now, amid take-up in regions like India and Indonesia, that could help to make its platforms a more essential utility within each of their respective digital shifts.

That holds huge potential for Facebook moving forward, and is where it’s now likely to see its most significant growth.

Apple’s update, puts a dent in that, and if Android were to follow suit, that could make it even more difficult, so it makes sense for Facebook to work to optimize its tools now in anticipation of any further data privacy shifts.

At the same time, it could be worth an experiment for your campaigns, depending on the specifics.

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