Although Facebook may not be the first place people go to shop, it has quickly developed into a strong customer acquisition channel thanks to advanced targeting and retargeting capabilities that help to complete the loop for consumers with an interest in your brand or product category.

FREE GUIDE: The Retailer’s Guide to Social Commerce Channels

As highlighted in Nanigans’ Q3 2016 Global Facebook Advertising Benchmark Report, Facebook’s total revenue grew by 56% year over year to $7.01 billion, and mobile ad revenue accounted for 84% of total ad revenue (vs. 78% this time last year).

Advertising on Facebook presents a unique opportunity because it’s a channel that can address every stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel—from brand awareness to generating revenue to creating loyal customer relationships.

All of the above are reasons why CPC Strategy decided to launch our Facebook Performance Marketing program this year – designed to diagnose and execute on ad strategies that align Facebook with our client’s unique business objectives.

2016 Facebook Advertising Announcements:

In 2016, Facebook crossed the threshold of 1 billion daily users on mobile and continues to pave the way for advertisers with advanced tools and new features. In case you missed it, we compiled a recap of our 10 biggest blog announcements for Facebook Advertisers in 2016.

1) Instagram Dynamic Ads

In May, Facebook announced a variety of product updates to Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network to give advertisers new ways to drive sales of their products in more places across mobile and desktop.

According to the announcement, “We’re expanding functionality for Dynamic Ads (formerly called Dynamic Product Ads) and adding new advanced capability to Custom Audiences from your website.”

“These updates help advertisers identify and connect with their most valuable website visitors and mobile app users. They also reflect our commitment to make Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network the most effective platforms for driving sales on mobile.”

Dynamic Ads automate product advertising by showing people ads featuring items they’ve expressed interest in—either by viewing it or adding it to their cart—or items related to ones they’ve shown interest in or purchased.

Businesses using Dynamic Ads have the ability to connect with more potential customers on mobile and Dynamic Ads on IG allow advertising to target shoppers closer to the bottom of the funnel.

Full Story: The Impact of Instagram Dynamic Ads & Custom Audiences for Advertisers

2) Expanded Facebook Audience Network

The power of Facebook ads, off Facebook. This is the theme the social media giant has pushed in regards to its Facebook Audience Network.

The program, which initially launched in October of 2014, is an advertising extension that offers additional ad placement on mobile websites and applications that have opted into the network.

The network is comprised of third-party apps and mobile websites approved by Facebook to host these ads – automatically making it easier to extend ad campaigns onto alternative mediums that customers use on a day-to-day basis.

As seen in the example below, ads shown within the Facebook Audience Network are delivered in three formats: Banner, Interstitial, or Native ads.

 

In May of this year, the company announced that it would be opening the capabilities of its Audience Network up to more than just Facebook users.

Previously, the network was limited to only being able to serve ads to signed-in Facebook users that engaged with third-party outlets, such as mobile apps and websites.

However, its scope has now broadened, expanding the reach of the Audience Network to display ads on third-party apps and sites to anyone who has ever visited Facebook; registered and non-registered users, alike.

Full Story: Expanded Facebook Audience Network

3) Facebook ChatBots

Facebook Messenger made headlines mid-2016 by reaching the one billion active users milestone. While the majority of people currently use the messaging service as a peer-to-peer communications tool, there is a strong push to further develop Facebook Messenger chatbots to build out Messenger as a tool for businesses as well.

One of the primary efforts highlighting this drive was Facebook’s development of its Bots for Messenger development tool, which Facebook houses directly on its website.

It allows for the development of Facebook Messenger chatbots which will integrate directly with a company’s Facebook brand presence.

Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Messenger v1.2 mid-September which added a few notable features targeted at closing the gap that separates Facebook Messenger from being a practical business technology.

Full Story: Facebook ChatBots

4) Facebook Attends Cannes Lions

In June, marketers, creators and innovators from around the world gathered at Facebook Cannes Lions 2016 (pictured below) to recognize advancements in the marketing industry.

At the event, Facebook introduced new solutions to make it easier for advertisers to share their messages across mobile platforms including:

  • Audience Insights API – To help advertisers reach better insights Facebook announced they were currently working through a new Audience Insights API (in beta). They partnered with advertisers—like Mondelez International and Anheuser-Busch InBev—to understand how to develop insights from aggregated and anonymous demographics, psychographics, topic data and reports from Facebook IQ.

 

  • Canvas – Canvas is a Facebook feature used for storytelling to immersive experiences to mobile audiences. Facebook announced plans to update Canvas to make it easier for marketers to design, create, share and gain insights.

 

  • Slideshow Ads – Slideshow ads make it easy for businesses to create videos from photos. By giving advertisers the ability to create, edit and promote video ads in seconds, slideshow extends the power of Facebook video to more businesses, like those without existing video creative. Facebook announced several updates to Slideshow including:
      • Audio and text overlay, an easy “video-to-slideshow” creation tool
      • The ability to create slideshow from a mobile device
      • Integration with our Pages Photo Library and Shutterstock stock image library

     

Full Story: Facebook Cannes Lions 2016 Announcements

5) Facebook App Event Optimization

Now, according to Facebook, you can optimize your mobile app ads for App Events, or “people most likely to complete an app event” using Facebook’s App Event Optimization.

Instead of targeting with a focus on “App Installs,” you can get your mobile app ad in front of those users who are most likely to buy, browse, or complete other valuable actions over a longer period of time on your app.

These mobile app ads can be seen on Facebook mobile, desktop, Instagram mobile, and Instagram Mobile App Carousels.

Full Story: Facebook App Event Optimization

6) Facebook Video Ads

People now watch over 100 million hours of Facebook video ads on the social platform each day. The digital video advertising market is growing rapidly at 43.5% year over year and by 2017, eMarketer projects that digital video advertising will make up 15% of the total digital advertising market.

Facebook values video and knows their audience does too. Shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers and more than half of the marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Because advertisers cite a 40 percent increase in purchases as a result of video – specifically in the categories of apparel, home goods, and electronics – retailers & brands should be investing in their Facebook video efforts more now than ever before.

Full Story: The Retailer’s Guide to Facebook Video Ads

7) Facebook Lead Ads

Lead generation was one of the most essential components of marketing for ecommerce retailers in 2016. Developing lists of prospective customers has proven to be a valuable attribute to just about any marketing strategy.

But even with a plethora of advertising options, amassing contact information is still one of the most difficult undertakings retailers face on a day-to-day basis. That’s where lead ads on Facebook came into play.

Form fill-outs are a tedious and repetitious process for shoppers. So much so, they are often overlooked and easily ignored; which is discouraging, as they can be full of rich information businesses are able to harness to better target audiences.

Lead ads on Facebook were designed to remove some of the monotony and give shoppers a way to quickly and easily provide their information to businesses they may be interested in.

Full Story: Lead Ads on Facebook & What They Mean for Retailers

8) Dynamic Ad Cross-Selling

In August, Facebook announced that advertisers will be able to use dynamic product ads to show related products to people who have purchased an item. Retailers were also given also more flexibility to define their product categories.

For example if someone bought a pair of designer jeans using their mobile app, retailers can target additional complementary products from that same designer category – plus additional items such as designer shoes, designer handbags or designer purses.

Full Story: Facebook Introduces Cross-selling

9) Facebook Group Ads

The ability to advertise in groups has been a long-awaited feature for many advertisers. And understandably so. Facebook Groups represent a massive body of users on the platform.

The groups feature has gradually become one of Facebook’s most valuable attributes over the years. Initially beginning as a simple way to express interest in any given topic, groups have developed into set of mini-ecosystems capable of much, much more.

From families, professional networking and religious groups, to politics, sports and even buy-and-sell types of classifieds, groups can be created for just about anything imaginable. The real value comes from the activity within these groups.

In a statement given to TechCrunch, Facebook reported that Facebook Group ads were currently being tested in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Full Story: Testing Facebook Group Ads

10) Black Friday / Cyber Monday Facebook Recap

As an agency managing hundreds of retail brands, we take Q4 serious and view it as a opportunity to reflect on recent advertising campaigns, successes, and most importantly major trends during the holiday shopping season.

Following the peak shopping days, we compiled a list of the major trends that stood out to marketers on Facebook during Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2016.

Some of the trends we noticed included a rise in CPCs and a focus on Cyber Week as a whole.

Full Story: Facebook Black Friday & Cyber Monday Advertising Recap

Facebook Predictions for 2017

As we approach the new year, we spoke with a panel of the leading Facebook advertising experts to discuss the role of Facebook in retail for 2017.

The 2017 Facebook Prediction Roundtable includes:

Nii A. Ahene, Co-founder / COO, CPC Strategy

Peter Messmer, Director of Growth at AddShoppers

Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy

Dave Kerpen, Founder & CEO of Likeable Local

Sarah Rogers, Senior Social Strategist at CPC Strategy

Guy Rozman, Director of Acquisition, Yotpo

Casey Ewards, Social Marketing Manager at CPC Strategy

Ryan Bates, Digital Production Coordinator, CPC Strategy

Full Story: 2017 Facebook Advertising Predictions

 

How Facebook Users Engage With Your Ads

The Facebook Consumer Survey 2017
 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.