Will improved Facebook mobile ads drive in-store sales?

Facebook is making it easier to ensure you’re marketing the right products to the right audience with the launch of dynamic ads for retail.

Although many bricks and mortar retailers already use Facebook ads to promote their in-store products, with dynamics ads you will now be able to customise the creative for every store location based on local product availability, pricing or promotions.

“Marketing out of stock promotions or inaccurate local prices can lead to a bad customer experience and wasted impressions,” Facebook said in a statement. “Now, with dynamic ads for retail, campaigns can dynamically showcase products available in the shop that’s closest to the person seeing the ad.”

American retailer Macy’s is currently trialling the new feature and Serena Potter, group vice president digital media strategy, says it is helping bridge the store’s online and offline channels.

“We were excited to be the first up and running with Facebook's dynamic adverts for retail as it truly allows us to personalise product adverts based on online behaviour and inventory at the nearest Macy's store,” she explains.

“This bridges our online and offline channels to deliver a more engaging, relevant and useful experience to shoppers."

How does it work?

If you are advertising a sales event happening in multiple stores, Facebook users will see dynamic ads that showcase products that are in-stock at a nearby shop and display the price found at that location.

As the ads are linked to your local product catalogue, if a product sells out in one shop the campaign automatically adjusts so people in that region will no longer see it advertised. Product selection for each ad can be optimised based on people’s online and mobile shopping behaviour.

The tools

According to Facebook, dynamic ads have four features that will assist retailers. These are:

1 Local availability: an availability indicator on the ad shows people that a product is available at a shop near them, and the store locator makes it easy for people to get directions.

2 Product summaries: advertisers can use Facebook-hosted product summaries to give potential shoppers the information they need without leaving the Facebook app.

3 Different actions: product summaries include ways for people to take actions such as contacting the nearest shop, buying online or saving the product for future reference.

4 Similar products: similar products available at the nearest shop are featured so that people can browse the aisles directly from their phone.

The introduction of dynamic ads comes after Facebook’s announcement in June this year that the company was focusing on helping physical stores increase foot traffic with local awareness ads, which show Facebook users the stores closest to them. This comes with improved analytics, so retailers can properly measure their campaign’s performance.

Facebook is currently testing dynamic ads for retail with advertisers including Abercrombie & Fitch, Argos, Pottery Barn and Target, and says they will become more widely available to eligible clients in the coming weeks.

By Ruth Cooper