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Facebook Announces New Advertising Options for the Holidays, Including Product Tags in Instagram Ads

With Christmas now only 65 days away, Facebook has announced some new ad tools to help retailers make the most of the season, and finish out 2020 in the strongest possible way.

The main update is the ability to create Instagram ads with product tags within Ads Manager, essentially enabling you to add Instagram's product tags directly to paid promotions.

To be clear, brands have been able to add product tags in Instagram posts since 2016, so the feature itself is not new. But up till now, businesses could not add these tags specifically to their ads.

As explained by Facebook:

"Over the last year, advertisers have been testing the ability to turn organic shopping posts with product tags into ads on Instagram. Today, we’re launching a new way to create ads with product tags from scratch in Ads Manager. This gives businesses the option to use more commercial creative and copy compared to traditional organic posts. The available formats for ads with product tags include photos, videos and carousels."

So some brands have been able to convert product tagged posts into sponsored updates, but now, all businesses will be able to insert product tags directly into their ad posts.

It's a good addition, providing another way to both encourage shopping behavior and align with usage trends. The more brands that add product tags to their posts, the more Instagram users are growing to expect their presence, and with the platform making a bigger push on eCommerce, there'll come a time where product tags will be the expectation, with users looking for more, immediate info whenever they come by something of interest.

Facebook's also adding some new Custom Audience options to help businesses retarget people who've shown a direct interest in purchasing from them.

"With Shopping Engagement Custom Audiences, businesses now have the ability to reach people who’ve already shown interest in their product or brand by doing things like saving a product, viewing a shop or initiating a purchase. And with Shopping Lookalike Audiences, you can grow your customer base by reaching shoppers who have similar interests to your existing customers on Facebook and Instagram."

Both could have significant benefits - retargeting can be a highly effective tactic, with research suggesting that customers are up to 70% more likely to convert when retargeted with display adverts. Facebook's Lookalike Audiences are also powerful, and can help to focus on people with similar traits and habits that align with those who've already purchased from you.

It'll take some experimentation to optimize each, but they could be valuable additions, especially for those businesses seeing a lot of customer engagement.

Facebook's also launching a new test of discount features for Facebook and Instagram shops in the US.

"You’ll be able to put individual products on sale, create offers that can be automatically applied - like “Spend $50 and get 10% off each eligible item” - or offer a discount on an item by letting customers apply a promo code. To make sure customers know of the discount options available to them and pique their interest, you can get creative by adding a banner to your shop."

That will make it much easier for businesses to run quick promotions in their Facebook shops, which could be key to getting more customers interested in your products. 

Finally, Facebook is also launching a new Season of Support initiative to help SMBs get holiday ready, which will include free marketing training, resources and more.

The program will offer a range of training courses and tools, including four new courses specifically designed to prepare businesses for the holiday season.

"You’ll hear from business experts and celebrities like Tan France, star of the Facebook Watch series Boost My Business. Tan will host a discussion about getting into the holiday season with one of the small business guests from Season 2 of his show which launched this week."

Facebook's also looking to continue its #BuyBlackFriday initiative in the US, which is designed to help promote Black-owned businesses, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

"From October 30 to November 27, 2020, we’re supporting Black businesses by making every Friday #BuyBlack Friday, and we invite your business to join us. A staggering 41% of US Black-owned businesses have shut down due to COVID-19,2 so we’re looking to help in ways that are meaningful. Buy from Black-owned businesses and join the celebration on Facebook."

There are some important tools, and initiatives here, which will help brands maximize their holiday promotions, and maybe squeeze that little bit more out of their end of season drive.

Definitely, the new ad tools are worth looking into.

You can find more information about the new additions here.

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