Facebook now wants to prove that its ads that are meant to sell users something actually lead to real purchases. As people use the social media giant from a lot of different devices and frequently shop somewhere else altogether, it can be quite tricky to track whether Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads actually work or not. But it appears the social networking firm has found a solution for this.
How will FB track shoppers?
On Tuesday, the company released an ad update specific to offline shopping to fix the problem. Now advertisers can include an interactive map as part of a carousel ad, helping users find and probably even visit actual stores with the help of a map that displays their physical store locations.
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To track the number of users who see the ad and actually visit the store, the social networking site will use the phone’s location services. Then advertisers will get the data to see if their Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ads influence customers to visit their brick and mortar stores or not.
Connecting these customers with in-store purchases is the final piece of the puzzle which the social media giant wants to achieve. The new Offline Conversions API works with many in-store sales systems from companies like IBM and Square to match their customer data with Facebook’s advertising data. The aim is to try to connect in-store purchases to an ad users may have come across in their News Feeds.
Brick-and-mortar store sales still strong
For Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), the main incentive is to sell more ads if it can prove that its ads drive sales. Most shopping still happens in brick-and-mortar stores even though lots of shoppers shop online. The U.S. Census Bureau found that in the first quarter of 2016, e-commerce retail sales accounted for less than 8% of all retail spending.
How accurately the social networking giant will be able to track ads is still a mystery. In a hope of sending users info about retailers, the social media giant was handing out beacons to retailers, the social media giant announced last summer. Maz Sharafi, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing, said this new retail ad effort is not related to the beacons. Sharafi said the beacon effort was about disseminating information, such as reviews from friends, but not ads.
Nevertheless, the social media giant clearly has an interest in connecting local retailers with the rest of the world, and these efforts are either in the works or down the road.