Facebook Tests an Opportunities Tab, Google Makes Images Shoppable, & More Recent News

In the words of America’s sweetheart Jim Nantz: Hello, friends. It’s time for another online advertising news round-up. Let’s see what’s been going on in March thus far.

Facebook quietly launches an Opportunities tab

Last Friday, our paid advertising expert, Kristina, as well as one of the account managers on our Managed Services team, Scott, noticed something new in the Facebook Ads UI: an Opportunities tab, much like the Recommendations tab we all know from Google Ads.

As you can see from the screenshot Scott sent me, the new Opportunities tab features two sections: Recommendations and Success Stories.

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In the Recommendations section, Facebook Ads provides optimization tips as well as pieces of content that can help you learn more (and make a more informed decision). In the Success Stories section, you’ll find case studies of other advertisers that leveraged the optimization tip Facebook Ads has given you.

This new Opportunities tab is Facebook Ads’ attempt to draw your attention toward the things the platform thinks you should be doing. Although we’re firm believers in the effectiveness of machine learning, if you notice this new tab in your Facebook Ads account, you should definitely educate yourself on each recommendation before implementing.

Here’s what Kristina had to say about it:

“Similar to Google Ads’ Recommendations tab, it seems like Facebook Ads is making a play to drive adoption of new features. While Google Ads also offers optimization tips in their Recommendations section, Facebook Ads is displaying success stories. I’m excited about this section because I can filter through and find advertisers like me, which creates inspiration for new strategies and tests for our account.”

Google releases new shopping ad formats in Images

In order to deliver better search experiences to online shoppers who want to consume visual content before making purchases, Google has begun testing shoppable ads in the image results.

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Via Google.

According to the announcement post linked above, half of all online shoppers say that images inspire them to make purchases. That’s why so many consumers turn to Google Images when they’re hoping to discover new brands and products. This new ad format that Google has introduced enables you to tag several products in your sponsored image result and let users know that they’re available for purchase.

Now, for example, when someone searches “shower tile designs” and scans the image results, you can serve her a shoppable image that allows her to hover over different products and get all kinds of relevant information—price, brand, shipping details, etc.

Plus, Google is bringing Showcase Shopping Ads to the image results. When online shoppers click on ads using this format—often served for broad queries like “basketball shoes” and “handbags”—Google expands the ads and serves users entire catalogs of relevant products. It’s only when someone opens your catalog and then clicks on a specific product that he’s brought to your landing page.

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Via Google.

Google introduces Offers view in Business Profiles

In an effort to make your special promotions more prominent in your Business Profile, Google has introduced a new Offers view—a carousel-style space that enables you to drive foot traffic by giving users an extra incentive.

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Via Google.

By making good use of this new SERP property, you can instill a sense of urgency among the consumers in your local market and move them to action. Make sure the limited nature of whatever promotion you’re advertising is at the core of the listing.

To add an offer to your Business Profile, simply follow these three steps:

  1. Open the Google My Business app and create a new post.
  2. Categorize the new post as an offer.
  3. Provide the information you want people to know: a description of the offer, a special coupon code store visitors can use, etc.

Pinterest rolls out new shopping features

Well aware that product discovery and purchase inspiration are major incentives for their users, Pinterest has announced a slew of new features that make it easier for brands to reach consumers and for consumers to shop as they scroll.

The following are the three new features Pinterest users will enjoy:

1. Personalized recommendations: When users are browsing style, home, beauty, and DIY boards, Pinterest will serve them in-stock recommendations based on the content they’ve been saving. Users looking for shopping inspiration can click “more ideas” and begin sifting through the products Pinterest has matched with their unique tastes. If they see products they’d like to buy, they can click through to retailers’ websites directly from the app.

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Via Pinterest.

2. Shop a brand: Within the Product Pins section, users can navigate to “more from [insert brand name]” to immerse themselves in the catalogs of individual brands.

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Via Pinterest.

3. Shopping search: When users search for products, Pinterest will serve them shopping results on the top of home feed. From here, users can click “see more” and begin browsing your offerings.

And here are the two new updates Pinterest has rolled out to brands:

  1. Catalogs: You can now upload your entire product catalog to Pinterest. With the ability to turn each product into a dynamic Product Pin, you’re able to connect with shopping-minded Pinners like never before. Plus, thanks to a new dashboard, you can optimize your Pinterest product feed in order to make yourself as visible as possible across the site.
  2. Shopping Ads: Shopping Ads are now available to all businesses. Any business that uploads products to Pinterest can use Shopping Ads to promote them.

Facebook to replace Relevance Score with 3 new metrics

Last week, Facebook announced that it’s sunsetting Relevance Score—the ad-level metric that basically tells you whether your ad is any good—and replacing it with three new metrics:

  1. Quality ranking measures the quality of your ad in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
  2. Engagement rate ranking measures the expected level of engagement your ad will drive in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
  3. Conversion rate ranking measures the expected conversion rate your ad will drive in comparison to the others that are pursuing the same campaign goal and competing for the same audience.

In a nutshell, Facebook is replacing Relevance Score with the new metrics to give you a more focused, granular perspective of campaign performance. Relevance Score, despite being comparable to Google Ads’ Quality Score metric, has never been all that helpful in terms of informing Facebook advertisers’ strategies.

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Why? Because it’s sort of a black box. The math behind Relevance Score isn’t very intuitive, which makes it hard for Facebook advertisers to look at it and understand how to move forward.

If you want a more in-depth look at Relevance Score and the reasoning behind its imminent disappearance from your Facebook Ads account, check out this blog post.

Google announces new features for App campaigns

To help app advertisers attract and retain users, Google has announced two new features: maximum conversions bidding and App campaigns for engagement.

Maximum conversions bidding, which other non-app advertisers have been using for a while now, is an automated bidding strategy that aims to drive as many conversions as possible given the constraints of your budget.

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Basically, you set a budget and submit your ad copy. Google Ads takes it from there, using machine learning at the time of each auction to determine what bid is optimal given the goal of maximizing conversions. This automated bidding strategy is now in beta for select app advertisers, and those who are interested can speak with their account managers at Google.

According to Google, 80% of app users churn within three months of installation. To help app advertisers re-engage the users who seem to have lost interest, Google has introduced App campaigns for engagement.

With this campaign type, you can advertise to the people who’ve downloaded your app across Google Search, YouTube, and the Display Network. Whether you want to target the people who’ve downloaded your app and never used it or the people who’ve started in-app purchases and left them incomplete, App campaigns for engagement are here to help. Once you’ve given Google Ads the necessary assets—copy, images, videos—and a budget, it will start advertising to users across the appropriate networks and increase your engagement metrics.

Google rolls out recommended columns feature

It’s crucial to report on the metrics (e.g., click volume, CPA) most relevant to your marketing goals. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing whether you’re driving meaningful results for your business. That’s why Google has introduced a new recommended columns feature to all advertisers.

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Via Google.

Based on your campaign and account settings, Google Ads will automatically generate suggestions for the reporting columns you should be focusing on. For example, if you start using the automated Target CPA bidding strategy for a given campaign, Google Ads will recommend that you include CPA as a column in your reports.

You’ll know a column has been recommended because the name will be underlined in blue. If you want, you can either add it as a permanent column or tell Google Ads to never recommend it again. Or, you can simply do nothing and allow Google Ads to recommend it whenever appropriate.

This feature is now default for all advertisers, but if you want to turn it off completely, you can. We recommend giving it a chance at the very least. There’s really no downside to allowing Google to give you recommendations, and the potential upside—more robust reporting that gives you a better idea of how you’re performing—is substantial.

Instagram advertisers can now sell directly within the app

Soon, your Instagram followers will be able to buy stuff from you without leaving the app.

With a brief, somewhat-surprising-but-in-retrospect-not-that-surprising blog post, Instagram has announced the limited rollout of Checkout on Instagram—a new functionality for ecommerce advertisers that enables you to make sales from directly within the Instagram app.

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The announcement comes almost exactly two years after the launch of Shopping on Instagram, which allows your business to tag products in your organic posts and direct users to product details pages. Ideally, these pages are impressive enough to drive traffic to your actual landing pages—landing pages that are outside of the Instagram app, that is.

More recently, back in September of 2018, Instagram introduced shopping functionality in Stories. Since then, you’ve had the ability to shopify (dope company name alert) your Instagram Stories by tagging products with custom digital stickers. As with shoppable News Feed posts, shoppable Story posts direct users to product details pages that ultimately lead to external landing pages.

Apparently, Instagram has decided that directing users to external landing pages causes too much friction. With Checkout on Instagram, businesses can direct users from product-tagged photos to fully functional checkout pages―all within the app.

For now, Checkout on Instagram has been rolled out to select brands.


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