Facebook reveals new measurement tools and ad options for retailers

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

With Facebook growing its advertising revenue 63 percent in the second quarter, the social giant is always looking for new ways to tailor ads to retailers and new measurement partners. Two announcements Tuesday and Wednesday are about expanding return on investment, while also making it easier for advertisers to measure that return.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced five new measurement products with as many different partners. These are designed to allow marketers to work with the independent third parties they’re already familiar with, while Facebook addresses concerns that it has been a “walled garden” when it comes to data.

The social network will partner with Nielsen Catalina Solutions to offer consumer packaged goods companies the ability to see the impact of Facebook and Instagram on in-store purchases. Oracle’s Lift API integration will look at how likely people are to buy a product if they have or haven’t seen an ad.

The company is also making it easier for brands to bring together historical data from different channels to help influence advertising decisions. Brands will be able to get new data to figure out which ads deserve credit for a purchase, thanks to new partnerships with Visual IQ and Neustar. Also, seven new mobile measurement partners will allow advertisers to drill down into what’s driving mobile app installs.

This comes after Tuesday’s announcement of a big push to ensure that marketers see an impact from their ads, not just on click-through rates, but on offline purchases. The two new tools are 1) “dynamic ads for retail” as well as 2) the ability for advertisers to make their objective: driving people to their stores or business locations.

In a blog post outlining the news, Facebook said the objective is to help with the 49 percent of in-store purchases that are influenced by digital interactions, over half of which take place on mobile.

In June, Facebook announced new ways for marketers to drive foot traffic and measure the impact of campaigns on in-store purchases. That has resulted in 1 million store visits measured per day in 100,000 locations, Facebook said Wednesday, and announced new tools for advertisers to drive in-store purchases.

The new formats will allow marketers to customize ads not just based on a customer’s online shopping behavior, but also tailored for specific locations. Retailers can adjust ads based on product availability at local stores, as well as pricing and promotions. And now those retailers can embed ways for customers to contact the nearest store, or browse a particular location’s aisles.

How exactly does Facebook determine who’s visiting stores? The social giant told CNBC it’s all based on the activity of people who have enabled location services on their phones: They determine when they visit certain retailers during business hours. To make sure that their estimates are accurate they ask a sample of people the company believes are at a business location whether they visited that business.

Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pottery Barn and Target are among those testing the tools, which will roll out more broadly in coming weeks.