Multi-product ads are a relatively new feature on Facebook, introduced back in 2014. However, compared to conventional advertising options for brands, multi-product ads are somewhat misunderstood and rarely used to their maximum effectiveness.
Multi-product ads introduce a carousel-like range of space viewable to the individual user, allowing brands to offer multiple different options to cycle through (such as different products, styles of product, and so on). It’s quite similar to Google Shopping, but is available for management and use on Facebook’s much more user-centric platform. However, as Facebook users are generally there to read information and catch up on trends (and not to buy products), it isn’t strictly a B2C shopping platform, and B2C retail providers may not get the value they think they’ll get from the process.
Still, multi-product ads are a novel and promising way to promote your products, content, or brand in general. To make the most of them (and get the most value out of your ad experiments), try to adhere to these five best practices:
At first glance, multi-product ads seem catered to retail products, like clothing or electronics. Heck, they have the word “product” right in the name! But that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to only showcasing products in these fields (especially considering what I said about buying decisions on Facebook in general).
There are a host of other options you can consider. For example, you could bundle different packages together as different service offerings. You could have different deals and promotions as individual “products” rather than the products themselves. You could even have different pieces of content here, if you felt strongly enough about the relative strength of your material. The goal here is to spark interest and get more traffic to your site—and you don’t need retail products in order to do it.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, what passes for “strong” isn’t always strong. Some brands will go for common stock images or conventional imagery that they think is designed to draw users’ eyes, but actually registers as a surefire attempt to generate revenue. Instead, go for a more realistic, approachable type of imagery. Use real photographs you’ve taken, if possible, and stay away from any stock photos that your users might have seen from the past. Even so, use photos with lots of color, and high contrast between each slide in the carousel. For example, if you have one image with dull tones and a lot going on in the background, put it next to a more vibrant, colorful, yet minimalistic image.
People are drawn to other people more than they are to brands, and certainly more than they are to advertising. You can take advantage of this by putting people directly in your advertising. Include people’s faces in the image slots, and accompanying text to encourage clicks. For example, you could have user testimonials about your products or services, with corresponding textual lead-ins to generate interest. You could also tell the story of people your company has helped, or even offer some of your own team members to show off your company’s personality. The key is to develop a more personal approach—after all, Facebook is all about human interaction online.
Introduce a hashtag or some sort of competition in your multi-product ads to generate more attention and cultivate new material you can use in future ads. For example, you could introduce a contest to have your users showcase themselves using your products; anyone who uses the hashtag you set will be entered to win some substantial cash prize. You can then take some of the photos posted using this hashtag, and offer them in your ads (assuming, of course, you’ve made users aware that their photos may be used this way). It’s a way of showing the social influence of your brand, connecting old customers to new customers, and setting up a constant supply of new advertising material all at the same time. Even if you don’t use user-generated content this way, you can at least use the ad space to encourage specific types of social posts.
Don’t forget the fact that Facebook ads are shareable, giving you an arm of organic reach in addition to your immediate ad-style visibility. If you can make your ad shareable in some way, and you succeed in appealing to your target audience, you’ll instantly multiply your audience many times over. You can make your content shareable by introducing new data, cool images, interesting material, amusing material, or direct rewards for sharing. It’s hard to do with such little space, but it’s an important element of multi-product ads.
It remains to be seen whether multi-product ads will have the staying power of Google Shopping carousel ads. My guess, seeing that the majority of the Facebook population isn’t interested in buying something directly on the platform, is that they will not remain in this form for long. They may evolve into something else, or they may become cheaper and smaller in the scope of potential Facebook advertising options.
In the meantime, you run little risk in trying them out. Throw some of your marketing and advertising budget into a temporary campaign, follow the best practices I’ve outlined above, and see whether it can generate a positive ROI for your brand.