Facebook Unveils An In-App Shopping Section

Facebook Shopping Ads
An example of a Target ad users can click on to browse through and purchase products.
Courtesy of Facebook.

Looking for a pair of great boots for fall? You may have used Google to search, or maybe you went to your favorite retailer’s site and browsed the selection there. Within moments, your Facebook news feed is sprinkled with sponsored posts on boots you browsed, tempting you to click and purchase.

In June, Facebook began testing a new way of advertising, called Canvas, an experience in which a brand’s ads look like the usual sponsored posts, but when clicked on, they open to full-screen and allow users to scroll through their content.

On Monday, Facebook announced it will be testing an improved Canvas experience in which users can click on an ad and then see a “fast-loading, full-screen experience where they can browse through a variety of products before going to the retailer’s website to purchase.”

Facebook Shopping Ads Neiman Marcus ads on Facebook. Courtesy of Facebook.

Facebook has also added in a “Buy” button within ads to allow users to make a purchase without leaving Facebook. The feature will appear in both desktop and mobile formats but is geared in particular to make mobile purchases more seamless. Businesses can add a “Shop” section to both their retail websites and their Facebook pages.

Facebook is currently testing the shopping feature with a limited set of businesses, with plans to expand as it gathers information from the tests.

Last year, Facebook introduced a carousel ad format, which the company says drove traffic for retailers, including Neiman Marcus, which saw three times more conversions and 85 percent better click-through rates compared to other forms of advertising.