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Facebook launches collection ad format for retailers

Alex Spencer

Facebook has launched a new ad format, called 'collection', intended to let retailers display their wares.

The ads feature a video or image-based ad, above a carousel of products. If the main ad is clicked, users are taken to a shopping experience within Facebook that can display up to 50 products. If the user clicks on any of the product images, they'll be taken to the relevant page on the advertiser's site or app to make the purchase.

Ahead of its full launch, the collection ads have been tested by Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger. Adidas reported a 5.3x return on ad spend from the format, which it used to drive sales of its ZNE Road Trip range, while Tommy Hilfiger claims a 220 per cent increase in ROI when promoting the launch of its Autumn 2016 line.

"This new ad format has everything we need to introduce a new product and drive sales," said Rebecca Watts, performance marketing senior specialist at Adidas. "People who tapped on the ad were instantly taken to a full-screen shopping experience that included complementary Adidas products to complete the look. Collection has outstanding cross-selling capabilities, and we’ll certainly explore this new format again to inspire and increase sales."

Alongside the launch, Facebook also announced it will be testing a new outbound clicks metric for both Facebook and Instagram, showing the number of clicks that lead to third-party sites or apps, in an attempt to provide marketers with 'a clearer picture of people's paths through the entire ads experience'. These tests will begin in 'the coming weeks' and develop over the course of the trials – for example, while clicks from Instagram ads that lead to a Facebook page will initially be treated as outbound click, but these will eventually be filtered out.