Brent Barnhart
August 26, 2018

What Are Facebook Collection Ads And How Do They Work?

Facebook collection ads bring together the best features of canvas, carousel and the product catalogue to make a killer format for e-commerce brands looking to connect with customers on mobile. Find out all about the Facebook Collection format, learn how to set them up and check out some examples.

Marketing on Facebook feels like a bit of a love-hate relationship these days, doesn't it?
Think about it.
Many businesses are rightfully sour over the recent algorithm changes that throttle organic reach.
But on the other hand, there’s no denying just how integral Facebook’s ad platform has become for modern marketing campaigns.
Facebook represents the most popular social network for running ads hands down, with 83% of marketers in 2018 citing the platform as their go-to. Whether or not you agree with the growing “pay to play” trend of social media, the numbers speak for themselves.
And Facebook likewise acknowledges the need to show brands some much-needed love in the form of fresh ad formats.
Enter the world of Facebook Collection ads.
Representing the best features split between their existing ad formats, Facebook Collection ads are a visually compelling way for brands to win over customers.
In this quick guide, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of Collection ads, why they’re living up to the hype and what marketers need to do to get started with their own campaigns.

What Are Facebook Collection Ads, Anyway?

In a nutshell, you can think of Collection ads as a hybrid of Canvas and Carousel ads...
...on steroids.
Facebook Collection ads allow brands to showcase multiple products in a format that’s both interactive and immersive. Consumers can click and tap through product pages and full-screen Canvas images or videos, turning your ad into a sort of mini-storefront and commercial rolled into one.
Here’s a quick rundown of what makes Facebook Collection ads so buzzworthy:
They’re product-focused. Unlike ads which may focus on awareness or promoting a piece of content, Collection ads are specifically intended for brands promoting products.
They’re visually compelling. Taking advantage of the Canvas’ full-screen environment, brands have tons of creative freedom with photos and videos to grab the attention of buyers.
They’re mobile friendly. The Collection format is tailor-made for mobile users, intuitive for swiping and scrolling through. Given that mobile spending is on the rise, this attention to user-experience makes perfect sense.

Who Are Facebook Collection Ads For?

The Collection format’s emphasis on product photos and mobile users make it appealing for a specific set of brands. For example, you might consider running Facebook Collection ads if...
  • You’re looking for a creative push for your e-commerce business
  • You’ve curated a ton of customer photos and user-generated content to advertise with
  • Your business already has a Facebook catalog of products uploaded to the platform
That said, just about any brand with products can get on board with Collection ads. Granted, they understand the specifics of what it takes to set up a campaign.
And hey, that leads us to our next point.

What Exactly Do You Need to Run a Collection Ad?

Setting up any sort of ad campaign requires some specific creatives and Facebook Collection ads are no different. Below are three must-do’s to get started with your first Collection.

1. Upload Your Product Catalog

This step is arguably the most important: you need to make sure that you have a product catalog properly uploaded to Facebook. This ensures that your photos are formatted correctly and optimized for delivery when they show up in your ad.
For more information on how to set up your feed, check out our guide to Facebook product ads.

2. Pick a Format

Right now there are two formats available for Facebook Collections: gride and lifestyle.
There are some key differences between each format in terms of your creatives and what kind of campaign you’re looking to run.
Grid ads are fairly straightforward. This format showcases products in a grid beneath your Canvas photo or video, allowing users to scroll and tap where they see fit.
On the flip side, Lifestyle ads highlight particular products within photos that users can scroll through. This format is somewhat similar to that of a shoppable Instagram post.

3. Fine-Tune Your Creatives

Bear in mind that Collection ads have limited real estate in terms of copy (25 characters for your headline, 90 characters for your description text).  Although your images or videos are going to be doing most of the talking, your text needs to pack a punch as well.
Additionally, you’ll need to also stick with the best practices of Canvas ads for your full-screen creatives. For a quick dose of inspiration and some ideas of what we’re talking about, check out our recent post on killer Facebook Canvas ads.
To help make the process of creating your Collection less daunting, Facebook actually has three pre-built templates in their Creative Hub based on your goals. Simply plug in your copy and visuals and you’re good to go.

Quick Ideas for Facebook Collection Campaigns

Considering that Collection ads are still relatively new, you might understandably be strapped for ideas on what your ads should look like or what sort of campaign to run.
Don’t sweat it. We’ve highlighted three areas to start brainstorming if you’re looking into running a Collection ad based on Facebook’s best practices.

Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing via Facebook ads is always a smart move and the Collection format represents a brilliant way to reframe your products to people who’ve seen them before. The combination of eye-popping imagery and relevant products might be just what you need to win over would-be buyers.

User-Generated Content Campaigns

Collection ads are likewise perfect for user-generated content campaigns. The Lifestyle ad format is a prime place to showcase customer photos which are noted to increase conversion rates.
As highlighted by the popularity of shoppable Instagram posts, consumers love to see products presented in an authentic, organic way. Think about how you could use the Collection format to showcase multiple product photos in the wild to grab people's’ attention.

Visual-Focused Campaigns

If you already have creatives on deck such an epic marketing video or high-res photoshoot, why not double-dip them with a Collection campaign? Taking advantage of the Canvas-style, you can combine your most striking imagery with products to pique the interest of buyers.
Either way, you can quickly cook up a mockup in Facebook’s Creative Hub to explore your options in a snap.
7. Canvas Creative Mockup

Are Facebook Collection Ads Right for Your Brand?

Even if you have beef with Facebook’s algorithm, their ad platform is still booming thanks to new formats like Collections.
And for brands looking to experiment with new ways to showcase their products to mobile users, Collections are the real deal. Interactive and engaging,  Collection ads combine the best of what Facebook’s ad platform has to offer in addition to tons of creative freedom.
In short, a win-win for brands.

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