Facebook recently announced that it is testing two new ad features. One of them involves an in-app checkout feature associated with dynamic ads which are placed in the Facebook News Feed. The other feature is a new capability which can turn organic Instagram shopping posts into an advertisement by using Facebook’s Ads Manager. The new ad features accommodate the current method used by people to discover and purchase Facebook and Instagram products, so the whole experience and the whole ad design should look quite familiar to these users.
In-app checkout feature
This new feature, to be used with Facebook News Feed ads, will make it possible for users to find a product using a dynamic ad, and then purchase the product from that same ad, without having to abandon the main Facebook app itself. Many users will find this especially helpful, since they don’t have to navigate to another site to make the actual purchase. At present, the feature has only been made available to a very select group of advertisers with Facebook, but during the coming weeks, this feature will be fully tested with a view toward a broader rollout, so that all advertisers can begin using the feature.
It is likely to become fairly popular, because it extends the concept of what people are already familiar with, and gives them greater purchasing capability and convenience. The in-app checkout feature has been rolled out to about 23 major brands, with Instagram declaring that it will make the feature available to a great many more brands in the coming months, assuming no major problems are discovered.
The reason for the new feature is to help make Instagram more e-commerce friendly as a platform, and this new feature will help to close the loop on its e-commerce strategy. It will now be possible for many advertisers to significantly abbreviate the long journey from discovery of a product to purchase of the product. To look at, the new checkout feature will have a pushbutton display which is labeled Checkout on Instagram, and this will be shown whenever a user clicks on an image which has a product tag embedded.
After a user has saved their purchasing data on the platform once, they will be able to purchase products using the checkout button while staying within Instagram, and they can also manage their orders from within the platform. Instagram’s approach to e-commerce these days emphasizes a simplified immersive connection with a given brand, after which the Instagram Shopping experience aims at delivering a meaningful experience on the platform, intended to enhance any user’s appreciation of the marriage between the platform and e-commerce.
Converting organic shopping posts into ads
The second area of testing which Facebook is currently engaged with, is a new feature for Instagram which would allow advertisers to convert organic shopping posts into actual advertisements, using Facebook’s Ads Manager. Most businesses have had tremendous success using shopping posts, and this feature will help them to reach target audiences in a way that most people can relate to, and which they are already familiar with.
Over the next several months, Facebook plans to conduct extensive testing of this new capability, eventually including the Instagram checkout feature in its ads. Instagram claims that this feature is only one small part of their continuing investment in creating the best possible shopping experience. With shopping posts being run as ads, it will provide the same experience which a great many users have already come to know and appreciate.
Any shopper who taps on a tag within one of the ads will then be directed to a product description screen in Instagram, and will then have the ability to make a purchase from the mobile site of the brand offering the product. It is expected that businesses will be able to reach their target audiences much more easily with this new feature, and will easily be able to scale up when purchasing volume increases.
Why these new features matter
Facebook is calculated that friction from online checkout processes will have the effect of costing domestic businesses somewhere in the neighborhood of $213 billion in the present year. Testing on the two new features will have the intention of creating a much more efficient process for e-commerce across all Facebook apps. It is Facebook’s hope to build out seamless online purchase experiences for all those advertisers and businesses currently using any of its platforms at any location in the world.
The in-app checkout feature on Instagram has already been introduced by Facebook, and by expanding on in-app buying capability through News Feed ads, Facebook will be providing more advertisers with greater access. This increased access to a more user-friendly purchasing experience can all take place within the mainstream Facebook ecosystem, which is also part of Facebook’s intent.
Facebook is aware that upwards of 130 million users currently tap on the tags from within Instagram shopping posts. Anytime a business observes that a particular shopping post does exceptionally well with engagement of users, it would have the capability of converting that post into a formal ad and expanding its reach. According to Facebook, most businesses on Instagram will eventually be given the option to include the in-app checkout feature on their own ads, thus limiting the time between the discovery of a product and its eventual purchase.
In the big picture
These two new features are both in line with Instagram’s efforts to reduce the effort as well as the number of steps necessary between product discovery and purchase. It will also add a significant incentive for many brands, particularly those associated with the fashion industry, to participate with the new Instagram checkout process.
Brands which have been involved in beta testing have already indicated they like the ease of transactions, and how it has tended to strengthen relationships with followers. Since brands which make use of these new benefits invariably acquire a broader reach, it means their products are being recognized by many more users, and are enjoying wider distribution. This makes the new features a win-win for both parties involved, so you can almost count on a warm welcome for them.