Meta Introduces Promotional Ads for Ecommerce Deals

New format comes 2 years after Apple's privacy changes hit the bottom line

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Meta is launching a new ad format called promotional ads to make it easier for shoppers to find deals from retail brands.

When Facebook users see an ad with a special promotion, they can click through to claim the offer and the discount code will be automatically applied. If they don’t complete the purchase, they will receive a reminder notification before the deal ends. 

“In today’s economic environment, it’s important for businesses to find the right customers, and for people to find the best deals so their dollars go further,” said Helen Ma, Meta’s senior director of product management. “That’s why we’re expanding our lead ad capabilities and testing this new promotional ads format, so people can gain more information about a brand’s product or service as well as access to deals that help them save.”

At its NewFronts earlier this month, the company hinted at new ecommerce products to its advertiser audience.

“Offering advertisers a customized experience through promotional ads with reminders will combat some of the ad fatigue often associated with ads that feature price reduction/discount,” said Lucy Coomer, associate director, digital investment at Media.Monks.

A data play after privacy changes

“Meta is very interested in and eager to claim that data and use it to power algorithmic learning and targeting experiences for advertisers,” said Paul DeJarnatt, vp of digital at media agency Novus.

Meta’s move toward enhancing ecommerce capabilities comes nearly two years after Apple’s privacy changes, which cost Facebook upward of $10 billion in lost revenue. The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) changes limited the ability of apps like Facebook and Instagram to track user behavior. Elsewhere, Meta is phasing out Shops on its platforms that don’t use the checkout feature, cutting off referral traffic for brands.

Since the changes, Novus clients have seen a significant hit to the return on ad spend, said DeJarnatt.

“Some have cut their budgets by 20% [on Meta’s platforms],” DeJarnatt told Adweek. “But there are some who had to cut their budgets by 80% because they just weren’t able to get a return on ad spend that was profitable for their business.”

Meta’s new promotional ads could encourage advertisers to increase spend in the short term to boost sales. Ultimately, they may lose value in these ads if Meta chooses to gatekeep customer data and limit advertisers from capturing it.

Advertisers who test the new promotional ads will look at metrics further down the funnel beyond just cost per view and CPM, said Alexander Stone, Horizon Media’s svp of advanced video and agency partnerships.

Still, privacy remains a top concern for advertisers that engage with Meta’s platforms. On Wednesday, the tech giant made headlines for a record privacy fine of $809 million for mishandling people’s data across transatlantic borders, according to Politico.

According to DeJarnatt, these lapses get in the way of people trusting the platforms.

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