Facebook has unveiled two new enhancements to help brands build awareness and advertise to consumers who have already visited their websites.
The improved remarketing capabilities include multi-product ads and new changes to Custom Audiences.
The multi-product ads, available on both desktop and mobile, appear as a slideshow, where marketers can showcase three products within a single ad unit. Facebook says this feature increases the likelihood of a person seeing a product and further clicking on the ad.
“The fact that brands can now get three different products in front of the customer in the same ad unit offers the opportunity to make the experience more like online shopping than advertising,” says Elizabeth Pace, insights and analytics manager at social media agency socialdeviant.
With the new release, she adds, Facebook advertising is becoming more and more targeted.
The improvements to Custom Audiences include three new capabilities: A new feature in Ads Manager and Power Editor will allow businesses to build new kinds of audiences; new audience limits will enable advertisers to build targeted segments for different products; and the third feature will allow businesses to target based on past activity history on their websites.
Facebook will roll out these improvements in the coming weeks.
Ronda Guimond, director of digital media at Enlighten, an integrated digital marketing agency, agrees that the new features will empower Facebook’s advertising capabilities. “Both [of the enhancements] open doors for Facebook competing with search and the direct response benefits that search provides,” she says.
The decision to allow brands to target consumers based on their online activity histories comes on the heels of the platform’s announcement earlier this month that it would share its users’ Web browsing histories with advertisers.
But according to Guimond, this was an expected move on Facebook’s part.
Since Facebook is a business, she says, it can hardly offer a free service without substantial advertising. However, “I would expect Facebook to eventually offer a premium, paid subscription model similar to Hulu Plus and Spotify if users prefer fewer ads,” she adds, explaining that a premium model could include more robust image or video editing and sharing capabilities. “Or maybe more personal enhancement, such as a partnership with Amazon or Etsy where consumers could buy items seamlessly all through their Facebook account.”
Guesses about Facebook’s future are many, but one thing is for sure – the social media network is evolving as an advertising platform. And to generate more ad revenue, the company will need to develop more features in the future that make both advertisers and Facebook users comfortable.
Pace from socialdeviant notes, “While Facebook has been a great place for brands to build awareness and affinity for years, more and more Facebook is trying to give brands the tools to move toward consideration and conversion.”