Facebook sure has been busy lately. Over the past two weeks, they announced standalone apps, put a big bet on their marketplace, and opened up some new ad offerings just in time for the holiday season. The updates have one thing in common – the goal of tying together online activity to offline metrics. Below is your field guide to Facebook’s updates, as well as some opinions from yours truly, on where.
Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Retail
As a refresher course, Facebook announced that you can now incorporate in-store inventory and availability into your dynamic product ads. This will allow a user who has surfed your site, to be served a relevant ad that has the added benefit of pushing a user closer to the store for purchase. Dynamic ads for retail will allow users to take action like contacting their store, and provide similar products that are available at a their nearest store. Read more from our very own LA here!
Store Visits Objective
Facebook has also announced a Store Visits objective for ad buying. This objective will allow you to optimize and report on store visits and set very granular targeting radii – less than 1 mile. You can also incorporate up to 200 locations in a single campaign, allowing large retailers to scale their in-store pushes.
Facebook has also placed a big bet on Events. Within Facebook, users are now able to browse event recommendations by popularity with friends, events in your area, events broken down by categories, or suggested events based on past activity, ultimately bringing users closer in real life, not just on the Internet. Aligned with this update, Facebook released an Events app that aggregates all of the event updates mentioned above to help further encourage the usage. While, I’ve always been on the fence about Facebook’s standalone apps (because most of them haven’t taken off – for example, Facebook Groups), this one has a chance.
When you first login, you are prompted to choose events that interest you (music, nightlife, food, health, etc.), and then the app can notify you when an event that might interest you is coming up, or in your area. This could definitely be a more interesting way for retailers and brands to get involved in the event space – and finally give Facebook events more reach. If Facebook does their due diligence in promoting the events app, this could be an interesting way to bring Facebook users closer together.
The name is confusing, considering the ads buying platform was historically called the Facebook Marketplace. But, Facebook has put an emphasis on their new Craigslist-type functionality that allows users to list and sell products – think an online garage sale. While, no major tie-in for brands is currently available (and not sure there needs to be), it’s an interesting tactic to continue to make Facebook an all-in-one solution for users.
Recommendations and Call to Actions on Pages for local business
If you are looking for advice on Facebook, you can now turn on “recommendations” for your friends to provide suggestions in the comments section when posting status updates, which are then bundles together in one place. Facebook will organize all your friends’ recommendations into one spot for your reference. This again is another effort Facebook has made to make sure you never have to leave the app – while not seeing any paid opportunities behind, but could certainly close the gap between online and offline.
In an effort to integrate users’ search journey more seamlessly, Facebook is also introducing new and more versatile ways for people to take actions when searching for local business pages. Updated call-to-action options include Get Quote, Start Order, Get Tickets, Request Time (an appointment) and more. Facebook is also partnering with third-party services such as Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, and Delivery.com so that users can get tickets/services straight from the page without having to leave Facebook. If you are not working with either of the integrated partners, Facebook also offers a way to drive orders, bookings, or any inquiries through Messenger. Once a user asks a question on the page, a messenger thread will automatically be created between the business and the person.
Offline Conversion Tracking
Last but not least, there is a way to tie this in-store measurement together. Facebook’s Offline Conversion API allows you to upload in-store transaction data, and report in real-time the effect of online impressions to in-store transactions. This can help close the loop and identify the true value of the online impressions.