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Facebook’s new retail ads show in-store product availability, can be aimed at likely visitors

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Robert Sanchez
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Facebook has been trying to help boost retailers online sales for years.

But online remains the future of retail, and brick-and-mortar still the present, with in-store sales accounting for 92.5 percent of total US retail sales in the second quarter of 2016.

To help brick-and-mortar retailers push more in-store sales — and to help itself get more of their ad budgets heading into the holiday shopping season — Facebook is rolling out a new ad format that highlights available products at nearby stores and a way to aim those ads at people who are most likely to make it into the store.

Abercrombie & Fitch, Argos, Macy s, Target and Williams-Sonoma were the first brands to test the new ad format, which Facebook is calling Dynamic Ads for Retail, not to be confused with the original Dynamic Ad née Dynamic Product Ad format introduced last year or the travel-specific version unveiled earlier this year.

The ad format is the brick-and-mortar offshoot of Facebook s original, e-commerce-oriented Dynamic Ad format mixed with its Local Awareness format.

Like the Dynamic Ads, which online retailers use to highlight specific products on their sites, retailers can use the real-world version to showcase, within a slideshow-like product carousel, what s available in their nearby stores, as well as the distance to the nearest store and store-specific prices, which can change from one location to another, said Sharafi.

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