In 2019, e-commerce marketers are expected to spend more on Facebook than ever before. One of the reasons they are scaling their Facebook ad campaigns is that the social networking giant is introducing a number of new ad products that they want to experiment with. Collection ads are one of the newest solutions Facebook has started offering.
What Are Collection Ads?
Facebook introduced collection ads to provide a more immersive experience for mobile users. This advertising product differs from traditional ads in one huge way – advertisers can use multiple images. This gives them far more versatility and customizability than the traditional single unit ad.
There are a number of ways that advertisers can structure their creatives. The most common way advertisers use collection ads is by having a large cover image, followed by multiple images of products that they want to sell. Here is an example of a collection ad that Adidas was running.
The new collection ads are carefully optimized for mobile devices. This is great news for ecommerce marketers reaching customers on Facebook. An astonishing 58.9% of all e-commerce sales came from mobile devices in 2017. That figure is expected to surge in the coming years. Experts predict that the market for mobile ecommerce sales will rise to $3.5 trillion and may account for 72.9% of all e-commerce sales by 2021. Yet, traditional Facebook ad formats were not optimized for mobile users.
Collection ads are particularly helpful for reaching customers that may be interested in a variety of purchases. Unlike traditional single unit ads, they make it easier to showcase a wide range of products that customers may be interested in.
How Effective Are Facebook Collection Ads?
Facebook only recently started offering collection ads, so many people haven’t had a chance to share their perceptions of them yet. However, the few case studies that have been published so far are incredibly encouraging.
Facebook published a few of these case studies on their own website. The Black Tux is one of the companies that has done very well with collection ads and used them to dramatically boost their e-commerce sales. Their ROI with collection ads was over 100%, which was dramatically better than their ROI from traditional Facebook ad formats. Their conversion rate was 3.4 times higher and their customer acquisition costs were 37% lower. Based on these figures, it appears that Black Tux was struggling to get a positive ROI from their campaigns with traditional advertising creatives. However, the ROI from collection ads was so much better than they were able to double the return on their advertising spend.
Facebook describes the marketing strategy in more detail on the case study page.
“Choosing the right ad creative was key to getting people to understand and consider The Black Tux’s non-traditional suit and tuxedo rental solution. The team selected lifestyle and product-centric images to bring the message to life, at times using humor to show how The Black Tux is the antidote to ill-fitting tuxedos. The team used ad formats designed for storytelling like video ads, Instagram Stories, the collection and carousel ad formats, and Canvas. As The Black Tux tested different creatives, it learned that immersive formats like the carousel and collection formats led to the most conversions, beating single image ads by 3.4X,” the company writes.
How Ecommerce Marketers Can Make the Most of Collection Ads
Case studies are already showing that collection ads can be extraordinarily effective. However, there is still a learning curve, just like with any other ad. You will have an easier time getting a positive ROI if you follow the tips outlined below.
Keep Your Targeting Tight and Select Images that Are Very Specific to Your Demographic
With traditional Facebook ad campaigns, you need to keep your targeting tight. This is often the factor that will either make or break your advertising campaign.
You may be tempted to loosen it when running collection ads. Intuitively, it may seem like you could target a broader audience, since you can show numerous pictures to them. You may believe that you could show a picture that appeals to an audience in one demographic and another picture that resonates with others. For example, you might believe that you could target both men and women in your campaign and show two pictures that resonate with women, two images that appeal to men and a cover image that would appeal to both.
This isn’t a good approach. Keep in mind that images are the most important part of your advertising creative. Most marketers have found that 80% of a Facebook ad’s click-through-rate can be attributed to the images, while only 20% is attributed to the copy. If your images don’t resonate with your target audience, then you will have a harder time engaging people with them.
When Black Tux ran their campaign, they targeted men between the ages of 18 and 64 that had a relationship status of “Engaged.” Of course, the targeting options that you set are going to be different. You might need to tighten the age targeting unless you have other targeting options that are more specific.
Once you have identified the audience that you are targeting, you are going to need to choose images that relate to your audience. Choosing the right cover image is especially important, but you are going to want to select other great images too.
Test Images by Both Aesthetics and Market Appeal
Choosing the right images for your collection ads is a complex process. You can try to pick images based on intuition, but they may not perform as well as you expect. You are going to need to test different types of images to get the best performing ad.
Your first inclination will probably be to run ads with images of products that are in high demand. These images may seem like they will get the most traction since they are of products that the customers are actively looking for. However, the images that perform the best might be those that are most visually appealing, rather than images of products that have the best adoption rate.
Of course, you should try to get the highest quality images of all of your products. However, that sometimes isn’t possible. Some products may be in high demand, but they just don’t have the best aesthetics. It is hard to say whether images of the most visually enticing products are going to gain better traction than those that have the best functionality. At the end of the day, you are going to need to test both. Don’t get discouraged by this. As long as you know which types of images to test, you will have a better time finding ones that will give you high converting ads.
Optimize the Entire Funnel for Regional Users if You Intend to Create Localized Campaigns
A growing number of marketers are experimenting with funnels that focus on targeting users by city, state, zip code or county. The mistake they often make is that they only optimize their initial ad around the region they are targeting. If you really want to have a high converting campaign that targets local users, then you are going to need to optimize your entire funnel around them.
There are a lot of things that you can do to localize your marketing campaigns. One of the easiest is to use dynamic content for your ads and landing pages so the entire funnel seamlessly matches their expectations. If you are trying to make a story that is specific to people in a given area, then using citations to boost local SEO may also be a good idea. This works well, because people will have already discovered your site through the search engines, so you can then use a remarketing campaign you’re your collection ads. Since the ROI of collection ads is so high, adding remarketing and local SEO to the mix can be a foolproof way to get much higher conversions. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for people that have a limited understanding of the different places they are running campaigns, so it is a good idea to build quality citations using an agency.
Optimize the Speed of Your Landing Pages
The quality of your landing pages plays a crucial part in Facebook’s ranking algorithms. Any ads will get more visibility and lower CPCs if you have a better experience for your customers. Collection ads are no exception.
One of the most overlooked aspects of UX is the processing speed of the pages. There are a couple of things that you can do to ensure they load faster. Minimizing the visual content on the page is one of the most important steps. Using a VPS can also be very important.
Try Using Storytelling Formats
As with native ads, the new collection ads are perfect for storytelling campaigns. The images that you use to initially engage with the users are great for setting them up for a more in-depth immersion experience. You can direct them to a landing page with a story like most native ads campaigns.
You may need to test a couple of different story formats before you can find one that resonates with your readers. You also need to make sure that the story you use is built around the audience that you are targeting.