Facebook on the Forefront of Retail Advertising with TheFind Buyout

With Facebook’s latest purchase of the personalized ecommerce search app TheFind, the social media giant now has access to comparison shopping technology with capabilities that could one day rival Google’s Shopping Platform.

As employees from TheFind transition to Facebook – so does their advanced retail/product based crawling technology. The purchase of the shopping search engine, with an estimated $26 million in funding, is just the latest move by Facebook in an ongoing ecommerce evolution.

In the past couple years, Facebook has experimented with  a variety of ecommerce tools including a “Buy” button, its own online currency system and most recently Facebook Product Ads.

According to a statement from TheFind: For the last nine years, we’ve worked hard to bring you a shopping experience that’s easy, efficient and fun – searching all the stores on the web to find just the right products you’re looking to buy.

We are now starting our next chapter by combining forces with Facebook to do even more for consumers. Facebook’s resources and platform give us the opportunity to scale our expertise in product sourcing to the over 1 billion people that use the platform. 

Key members of our team are joining the company and will be working hard to integrate our technology to make the ads you see on Facebook every day better and more relevant to you.

A foothold in the local and mobile shopping space

In a post for Social Times, Nii A. Ahene, COO at CPC Strategy shares his thoughts on Facebook as they secure “a foothold in the local and mobile shopping space”.

“This is where things get interesting. With eBay Local (formerly Milo) quietly withering away on the sidelines and Google and Amazon unable to crack local commerce or local product search from an advertising standpoint in any transformative way, it’s pretty safe to assume that Facebook has thrown its hat in the ring to change how advertisers target local purchase-oriented retail shoppers at home and on the go,” Ahene said.

“Given their rich trove of check-in and location data and ambitions to build an off platform ad network, they’re just as likely as the incumbents to do innovative things in the space.”

About TheFind:

Founded nine years ago, TheFind’s price comparison website allows users to search 500 million products from 500,000 stores using their various mobile shopping apps to find the cheapest and best offers.

The acquisition of TheFind has the potential to not only expand Facebook into the ecommerce community but provide their users with specifically targeted advertisements an increase revenue. Specific and aggressive remarketing tactics could have a significant impact on big brand retailers – who could be hesitant to adopt Facebooks feed format early on.

A spokesperson for Facebook shared enthusiasm for their growing team:

We’re excited to welcome TheFind to Facebook. TheFind’s talented team has built a successful search engine that connects people to products. Together, we believe we can make the Facebook ads experience even more relevant and better for consumers.

Our business is about connecting people with the topics, companies, brands, and increasingly products they care about and we look forward to doing that with TheFind on board.

How will Facebook’s acquisition of TheFind impact the ecommerce industry?

Tien Nguyen, Co-founder and Director of Technology at CPC Strategy:

From a technology and data feed perspective the purchase of TheFind is the Robin to Facebook’s Batman – it’s a sidekick that Facebook may not necessarily need, but will help out immensely as they try to shoulder what will soon become a half a trillion dollar a year industry.

Facebook’s ambitions are limitless and having a system in place that can process the volume of data that TheFind can fulfill makes for a great start.

We’ve seen Bing struggle with feed issues back when its own shopping platform was being released in spite of the deep pockets that Microsoft has, so taking over a fully functional system that is designed for scale is a very sensible decision for Facebook rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

Facebook’s growth and momentum is unstoppable at this point and with its user base has a huge head start into any industry it jumps into, and ecommerce is the hottest thing right now.

Rick Backus, CEO at CPC Strategy:

It’s official! Facebook is preparing to challenge Google & Amazon for the hearts & minds of online shoppers. Amazon has a huge lead in this three horse race but with Google considering launching their own Marketplace and Facebook launching product level advertising, the race is definitely heating up.

Facebook probably doesn’t want to compete directly with Amazon or Google when it comes to fulfilling retail demand but it may be in the best position to create future retail demand.

Amazon is remarkable at providing relevant product listings for commoditized products but they still struggle with creating retail demand.

While Amazon continues to double down on their pursuit of becoming a high-end fashion destination for shoppers, they don’t seem to realize that luxury fashion brands don’t want to be associated with the Amazon brand.

Unlike Amazon, Facebook has the attention of the audience that luxury brands want access to and the acquisition of TheFind signals Facebook’s intention to turn that audience attention into retail advertising revenue.

Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy:

This purchase solidifies Facebook’s entry in to the ecommerce space. This purchase will allow Facebook to take a working process and apply it to their own systems, which puts them in a great place to challenge Google and Amazon for retail attention.

In my opinion, it gives them a leg up because they already have people’s attention, their behaviors, their “likes”, and now they are going to use that information and turn it into a powerful tool for retail merchants.

Facebook Product ads are available in the API through Facebook Marketing Partners and in the next few weeks the newest features will be available on Power Editor, an advanced tool that helps businesses manage multiple campaign ads.

Facebook Product Ad Resources: