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“Collections” — ad units consisting of a cover image or video and a carousel of product images — have been a boon for ecommerce advertisers since they became available on Facebook two years ago.
That’s not surprising given Collection ads benefit all players. For Facebook, they keep users on the platform longer; for brands they show multiple products at once and drive higher quality traffic to the brand’s website; and for consumers they deliver more relevant products in one convenient view.
Market data shows Collection ads can have a major impact on click-through rates, conversions and ROAS (return on ad spend).
For instance, personal care and beauty brand Sephora has run Collection ad campaigns on Facebook and seen:
Video game retailer GameStop saw the following results running Collections campaigns:
To capitalize on Collections’ potential to boost conversions and revenue, pay attention to the following best practices.
The items in a Collection ad unit can be populated dynamically with items pulled from the advertiser’s product feed. In most cases, these products are generated for retargeting based on a user’s website behavior. For instance, they have viewed items or added them to a shopping cart.
Collection ads can also be populated dynamically for prospecting. Products are selected based on a user’s browsing and purchasing history or demographic information, rather than direct action they’ve taken on a brand’s site.
Nevertheless, dynamic ads are not for everyone. If a brand does not have full confidence in the quality and relevance of the images in its product feed, then delivering ads dynamically may actually hurt conversion rates and ROAS (return on ad spend). The ad creative may look unprofessional. Or it may not fit with the Collection ad’s theme because the product set was not organized efficiently.
Additionally, with dynamic ads the advertiser will not have final say over the images in the Collection. Thereby they will have less quality control. So if your brand is still developing its product feed and wants complete control, we recommend utilizing non-dynamic Collection ads (i.e. create them manually).
Which brands are more likely to serve Collection ads dynamically? Usually major brands such as Nike (see above) or Home Depot or Wayfair. These companies have the highest-quality creative and the technical resources to build and maintain well-organized product feeds. You don’t have to be a household-name brand to serve Collection ads dynamically. But you MUST have full confidence in the quality of your product feed.
It’s worth noting that if you have a large product feed, you’ll want to pre-set a certain number of tiles for your Collection ad. That way you’ll avoid having a never-ending grid of product ads that could turn users away.
In a Collection ad, the main image or video needs to be compelling enough to stand out among the fierce competition on Facebook and Instagram. Or zany enough, as seen in the Collection video below for Birddogs, an up-and-coming men’s shorts brand.
If a brand has video assets, it’s better to use a video as the cover of the Collection ad. Videos typically generate up to 20% better interaction rates on Collection ads than images, according to Facebook. If a company doesn’t have any adequate video assets, it could create an auto-playing slideshow of images as an alternative.
Another tip for cover creative: Use images and videos that feature people actually using the product. This can result in 3-5% higher click-through rates over time, according to Facebook.
When using video for cover creative, it’s critical to apply the standard best practices for Facebook/Instagram video. These include: use sound; include clever but brief captions; include people (preferably using the product); and use animation if possible.
True to its name, Collection ad units are a collection of related ads. So whether it’s categorized by product line (sneakers, razors, swim trunks), season (autumn sweaters, skis, beachwear) or demographic (babies, newlyweds, expecting moms), a Collection ad should always revolve around a theme that connects the products.
Another approach to themed Collections is to have the carousel portion include accessories for the main product in the cover image. If the cover is an image or video of skis, the carousel would be comprised of goggles, boots, helmets, gloves, etc.
Collection ads are extremely effective for ecommerce brands. However, they’re not exclusively an ecommerce format. A travel company could feature video footage of a destination (say Bermuda) as the Collection cover. The tiles underneath could display various activity options — jet skiing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, golf, tennis, etc.
A fitness center could create a Collection ad with a cover video of a spin class. Each tile underneath would feature a different exercise class offered at the gym.
Whatever the industry, Collection ads are strongest when there is a cohesive theme that stays true to brand standards and creates an immersive experience for the user.