Facebook Users May Soon See Multiple Products Featured in a Single News Feed Ad

Retailers are testing the format

Ahead of the holiday season, Facebook is testing a different kind of product ad that lets retailers showcase more than one item within the news feed.

The two-click process seems to be focused on both brand awareness and direct response. The ads pair a main image or video along with related product images underneath and, if clicked, then bring up a second page with more products. If clicked again, the ad leads to the retailer's website where a consumer can actually buy the product. (The launch comes just weeks after Facebook-owned Instagram began letting more than a dozen retailers focus more specifically on ecommerce by tagging products in photos that then lead to a way to buy items online.)

Some retailers like Michael Kors and Lowes have already begun testing the Facebook format this week. However, a Facebook spokesperson said other brands will ramp up their own campaigns later this month and through the holiday season. More could join early next year, with other industries beyond retail possibly added if retailers are pleased with results. According to Michael Kors, which has been using the format along with the rest of its fall campaign, cost per conversion has fallen by 79 percent.

Instead of focusing too much on targeting a user with a single product, the goal is to give people enough items that might prompt them to shop more. The ads in some ways seem reminiscent of Google's "showcase shopping" ad format that launched for retailers this summer. Those ads, featured in Google search, aim to connect retailers with potential buyers who might be interested in a product even if their search query isn't quite exact.

The formats seem to potentially point to a broader trend toward clustering retail items in a way that brings a number of product listing ads underneath a single main piece of creative. The approach gives users more ideas to consider beyond just the one image they might or might not be interested in. According to Facebook, this approach drives more visual discovery by letting retailers use as many as 50 products to target users.