In-feed advertising is one of the most effective forms of native advertising. Inserted seamlessly into the feed of an app, these adverts take on the appearance of regular posts and fit in naturally with the user experience – driving engagement in the long run.
There are, however, many different types of in-feed advertising for marketers to take advantage of. In this post, we explore in-feed commerce adverts in particular: explaining what they are, who can use them and sharing some top tips on how to make the most of them.
Commerce feeds contain product listings and promoted products are integrated within. These promoted products are defined as in-feed commerce ads and provide a big retail opportunity to connect with users not only digitally but also in store, according to the Mobile Marketing Association.
In contrast to other types of in-feed advertising, commerce adverts offer digital and physical product deals relevant to the user’s’ interests. For example, if you’re browsing within Amazon and you have previously looked to buy a pair of blue running shoes, in your commerce feed you might notice an ad promoting shoes similar to your search history, deals for running shoes or a selection of options to drive your purchase.
As with all other types of in-feed advertising, commerce adverts are designed to naturally fit the app they are hosted within. Seamlessly blended into the user experience, in-feed commerce adverts draw upon all the usual native advertising benefits to improve the format’s performance. However, there are plenty of unique advantages to in-feed commerce ads, too.
First, commerce adverts will often boast specific benefits to drive sales more effectively – including in-store sales. Since 2014, Facebook’s in-feed commerce adverts allow advertisers to use “buy” as a call to action for products sold online or “get directions” for businesses driving consumers to a shop – helping increase sales offline.
Second, in-feed commerce ads can combine familiar user profiling techniques with other tracking technology, such as GPS, to drive bricks and mortars sales. For example, a restaurant chain that knows a particular user likes their product could serve them a half price advert when they’re a mile from the store – encouraging them to spend money in store.
Finally, in-feed commerce adverts allow marketers to connect with users with actual payments. Although it doesn’t yet offer in-feed commerce adverts, Starbucks’ pioneering mobile app now allows users to order a coffee from a particular shop, pay for it on their phone and walk straight to the front of the queue to pick it up. In a very similar way, in-feed commerce adverts don’t just drive sales; they make buying relevant items a frictionless experience for mobile users across the world.
First of all, in-feed commerce adverts work effectively for businesses with digital or physical products and services to sell. If you’re seeking another campaign goal, such as increasing brand awareness or content engagement, then this format isn’t going to work.
Second, you need to consider what the goal of your business is. If you’re running a bricks and mortars business, then you’ll want consumers to actively visit your location to generate sales. But if you’re running an online business, your goal will be to drive users directly and efficiently to items they want – making it much easier to buy what you’re advertising than going elsewhere.
Next, you’ll need to consider how your business goal affects your efforts to target existing and new users with relevant offers. If you’re trying to drive people to your store, examine the profile of newsletter subscribers or social media followers to build personas you want to target and then focus on users searching near to your store.
Syncing in-feed commerce campaigns for a bricks and mortar store will also be more effective if you time it when your store is actually open, so make sure to set your campaigns to run accordingly.
As for companies selling online, chances are you may have a larger store of data available to you to call upon. Use information within your mobile app (if you have one) or within internal sales databases to help construct your audience profiles, then use this to drive new acquisitions and to re-engage users who may have lapsed from your site when browsing or purchasing.
Lastly, it’s worth considering the best formats and creatives to increase the effectiveness of your in-feed commerce advertising.
For online retailers, advertising formats such as Instagram’s multi image carousel may prove a great way to show potential consumers a number of products in the best possible light.
And for bricks and mortar businesses, local awareness adverts from the likes of Google help businesses to advertise their stores and use relevant metrics (such as in store visits) to effectively measure whether in feed views converts into footfall.
In-feed commerce ads are a great way to naturally display relevant promotions to potential buyers and drive sales – both online and offline – within your business.
But to make the most of them, and to get the best bang for your buck, you must consider the unique challenges of your business, take advantage of relevant user tracking technologies and target the right users.
By doing that, you’ll be well placed to take advantage of this native advertising opportunity.