Last week, Facebook acquired — and immediately shut down — personalized commerce search app TheFind. TheFind melded search data to location-based purchase data to better hone product suggestions. By purchasing TheFind, Facebook immediately adds:
The ability to inject structured data feeds in mass from small businesses
Facebook’s announcement of multi-product ads has been just that, an announcement partly due to the lack of support for the feature through the Power Editor. TheFind purchase infuses additional domain expertise around this space for companies that can provide comprehensive inventory feeds to hydrate products on their retargeting campaigns on Facebook.
The most innovative US-focused comparison shopping company.
TheFind is the only comparison shopping platform with retail/product based crawling capabilities that rivals that of the Google Shopping platform. What this means is that Facebook can aggressively pursue retargeting and merchandising opportunities for retail advertising clients without the absolute need of a data feed (unlike Google Shopping), or institute quality control checks to ensure the pricing is accurate in the products they syndicate to targeted audiences. This is huge for big brand retailers who might otherwise be reluctant to send Facebook a feed directly (we’ve seen this be an issue with Bing Shopping adoption prior to them adopting the Google Shopping format).
A foothold in the local and mobile shopping space
This is where things get interesting. With eBay Local (formerly Milo) quietly withering away on the sidelines and Google and Amazon unable to crack local commerce or local product search from an advertising standpoint in any transformative way, it’s pretty safe to assume that Facebook has thrown its hat in the ring to change how advertisers target local purchase-oriented retail shoppers at home and on the go. Given their rich trove of check-in and location data and ambitions to build an off platform ad network, they’re just as likely as the incumbents to do innovative things in the space.
Who stands to gain the most, besides Facebook
Major Retailers – It will be an uphill battle but if Facebook can convince major retailers to sync local inventory and segmented customer purchase history to better target ads on the platform, they will become the main beneficiaries of a consumer-facing marketing platform that reaches targeted buying personas and their audience lookalikes on multiple devices. Couple in geotargeted or geofenced-based campaigns and you’re starting to look at an advertising platform with few peers in the space.
Who stands to lose the most?
Google. Hands down. In a recent survey of 1,500 US browsers, we found that 44.6 percent of consumers go to Amazon directly when they know they want to buy something online, compared to 39.1 percent that head to Google. The prospect of Facebook entering the retail advertising space around both purchase intent and consideration stage creates a direct threat to the share of advertising dollars that Google Adwords and Google Shopping get from retailers.
Nii A. Ahene is Co-Founder and COO of CPC Strategy, a retail search specialist agency based in San Diego. A certified Google Analytics Professional, Nii is a former eBay employee who won its innovation software development competition, and currently has a patent pending method of using topical/trending data to improve search results (application# 20090259620).