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Originally called Multi-Product Ads, Carousel Link Ads were recently expanded with some additional functionality designed specifically for direct response-focused advertisers. This includes better support for mobile app advertisers, and the ability to include deep links within the unit to point users to certain areas of an app or website, post-click.
These units have received a lot of attention from clients here at Nanigans, and we’ve observed some notable trends in terms of how advertisers are defining the market.
Between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, advertiser spending on Carousel Link Ads went up by more than 400% among Nanigans advertisers. The modifications to make Carousel Link Ads more direct response friendly enticed a number of eCommerce, gaming, and Internet services clients to build creative, test, and deploy one or more units.
What has many of these advertisers coming back are the really promising performance metrics demonstrated by the format. As Facebook recently shared within a blog post, CTRs are generally substantially higher within these units as compared to other advertising efforts, and CPIs tend to skew lower.
You’ll notice that Facebook’s blog post only shows examples of the ad on mobile phones. This isn’t an accident. The unique, interactive nature of the carousel format allows advertisers to better stand out to and engage with mobile users in particular. Instead of seeing one product or offer, they can quickly scroll through a kind of mini-catalog. This largely mimics the image-focused product browsing users are used to on shopping websites and specialized social networks like Pinterest, but at a “snackable” scale.
Additionally, advertisers have more leeway in this format to create simple, yet engaging creative. A number of clients have created continuous images that encourage users to scroll through the full carousel, while others have formatted the unit as a kind of storyboard with the same aim. Because these units take up a full smartphone screen, advertisers have found it easier to create these various flavors of an immersive experience as compared to trying to do so on desktop.
Website Custom Audiences (WCA) has become a preferred targeting strategy for a number of advertisers using the carousel format. While retargeting to given users using WCA is a long-standing practice amongst many Facebook advertisers, the Carousel Link Ads essentially broaden its applicability.
Traditional retargeting is likely to show a user the same product they had been looking at on the advertiser’s website, or a popular product similar to the one they viewed. However, in these cases the impetus for a user to click is specific – they need to still be interested in that product they looked at earlier. Before the carousel format, the advertiser only had one chance to successfully estimate what that user was likely to respond to. By having the ability to display multiple offers, clients have used the carousel format to broaden the potential scenarios that are likely to result in a click.
Advertisers can still include a recently viewed product, but they can place similar products beside them, or determine what seemingly unrelated products that user is likely to be interested in based on other purchasers. This turns the ad unit into a kind of mini product suggestion engine, and expands the applicability of the unit.
While new ad unit types aren’t necessarily a fit for every advertiser, the performance of Carousel Link Ads across a wide variety of clients make it a worthwhile unit to consider testing, especially for eCommerce companies, which have experienced the most success. Keeping the above tips and trends in mind, just be sure to carefully manage the creative and targeting criteria in order to maximize the investment and impact.