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Facebook offers new shopping tools

News, 14 October 2015

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook is testing two new ecommerce features to make it quicker and easier for users to make mobile purchases via the platform.

In a bid to overcome the problem of slow load times that can frustrate users when they try to access websites that aren't optimised for mobile, Facebook is testing a new ad tool called Canvas that it says is a "fast-loading, full-screen experience".

Users who click on the Canvas ad format will be presented with a full-screen page where they can browse a variety of products and search for information before being given the option of going to a retailer's site to buy.

By incorporating a "Buy" call-to-action button, the company said Canvas would enable users to click on ads in their News Feed to purchase directly from a business without having to leave Facebook.

"For people, the mobile shopping experience is often difficult to navigate. Customers can experience slow load times and too many steps on the way to checkout. This is bad for people and bad for marketers," Facebook said in a blog post.

"We want to build native experiences that make it easier for both people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales," it added.

Facebook is also introducing a new Shop section in Pages which brings together all the products showcased across the social network whether they appear in News Feeds, Pages or Groups.

This feature currently is being tested with a small number of businesses in the US, but Facebook said its aims to incorporate additional content into the feed, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.

In addition, the company provided an update about the performance of its Carousel ad format, which allows advertisers to showcase multiple product images and links in one ad.

Based on preliminary testing, Facebook claimed Carousel link ads drive 30% to 50% lower cost-per-conversion for advertisers. Video has been made available for this format, it added, while Carousel is also available on Instagram.

Data sourced from Facebook; additional content by Warc staff