— February 15, 2019
Every few months, it feels like Facebook is rolling out new features for their ad system. New targeting capabilities, new ad formats, new, new, new. And each time they do, marketers and advertisers are scrambling to decide if the new features will work for them, when to use it, and how it could impact their campaigns.
Sometimes, those answers aren’t immediately clear. Instagram Ads, for example, shocked marketers with costs that were originally much higher than Facebook’s even though they used the same ad platform. Meanwhile, carousel ads delivered a higher click-through rate (CTR) at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
One of the more recent developments was the addition of Facebook’s marketplace ads, which rolled out late last year. In this post, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about Facebook marketplace ads so you can determine if they’re right for you.
What Are Facebook’s Marketplace Ads?
Facebook’s marketplace ads are technically a new placement option (like “newsfeed” ads or “Stories ads”) instead of an actual ad format (like “instant experiences” or “carousel ads”). They allow your ad to be shown within the marketplace feed for mobile users.
Facebook’s marketplace, if you’re not familiar yet, is almost like a Facebook-Pinterest-hybrid section of the site that allows users and brands to list goods they have for sale, advertising it. Other users can reach out to the seller and purchase. The seller can be a big brand, or it can be individual private sellers.
And for what it’s worth, the marketplace is pretty effective; people are actively browsing, selling, and purchasing. Last month, for example, I sold a mini Kitchenaid mixer to someone in my town for $ 75 less than an hour after I’d posted about it. So these ads have enormous selling potential, because they’re showing up when people are actively looking to make a purchase.
The Pros & Cons of Marketplace Ads
There are both advantages and drawbacks to the new marketplace ads. Right now, the ads are still new enough we don’t have a lot of concrete evidence on how much they cost or how effective they are outright, but there are a few things we do know. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this ad placement in-depth.
One big advantage of marketplace ads that I want to note right away is that they take up a lot of room in a user’s feed. The first ad example we displayed above actually took up the entire real estate on my phone. The example (which again shows my entire mobile screen) below utilizes a more compact carousel ad. This ad still takes up plenty of space and encourages users to scroll through the options. Since more space means more attention, this is a good thing.
More good news: more placements overall is always good news for advertisers because there are only so many ad placements in a single users’ feed, and more placements mean just a little less run-in with supply and demand. Not a ton, but any little bit can help as the advertising system becomes even more competitive.
Facebook users who are browsing in the marketplace are relatively high-intent users; they’re at the very least doing some research to see what all is out there and at what price. The fact that they’ve essentially got their wallets open looking for a deal or for that last piece of furniture to tide them over is a plus; they’re willing to spend, and it just might be with you.
The option to connect with high-intent users who are already shopping is an advantage of marketplace ads, but it can come with a potential drawback. Just because someone is shopping doesn’t mean they’re looking for what you have to offer. And if they’re on a mission and looking for something specific instead of just browsing, they might scroll past your ad even if they’d have clicked if they saw it in their home feed.
That’s really the only “con” on our list, and since Facebook tries to show your ad to users who are most likely to engage, it might be a small one, but it’s still worth mentioning.
The Case Study
Right now, we have one big case study detailing the promise that marketplace ads can hold. Facebook shared the success story of Thread Wallet, who added the marketplace placement to their campaigns and saw outstanding results, including:
- More than 350 purchases that came from ads users saw in the marketplace
- A 16% decrease in cost per click, year-over-year
- A 17% decrease in cost per conversion, year-over-year
- a 41% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS)
Thread Wallet is an established brand, which likely helped them, but these results are still concrete and show that the marketplace ads have incredible potential to increase sales, conversions, and ROAS while decreasing costs.
How to Enable or Disable Marketplace Ads
The Marketplace placement will automatically be enabled for the campaigns that you run, so there’s no need to enable it unless you’re changing up a campaign you’ve duplicated that had it turned off.
If, on the other hand, you decide to disable marketplace ads, you simply need to click on “Edit Placements” and then click to disable the marketplace placements during the second stage of the ad creation process.
Marketplace Ad Technical Guidelines
Ready to create your marketplace ads? The good news is that the technical guidelines will be pretty consistent with other types of in-feed ad formats.
Here’s the technical info that you need to know:
- Single image ads have a recommended image size of 1200×628 pixels.
- Carousel ad images and videos have recommended image sizes of 600×600.
- Recommended dimensions are 4:5, but you can also use 1:1 and 16:9, 9:16, and 2:3.
- Recommended image files are JPG and PNG for images, and .MOV and .MP4 for video.
- The maximum video file size is 4GB.
Facebook marketplace ads can be a roll of the dice; while they do tap into an engaged audience ready to buy, you run the risk of having your ad shown to a user who is only a high-intent viewer for a different type of product. If they’re on the hunt for something specific, they may be even less likely to click on your ad than if they saw it when browsing.
That being said, marketplace placements are an excellent opportunity, and they offer up new additional placements to hopefully keep the ad marketplace a little more level, too. Some advertisers have reported having great results, so there is potential there. If you think it’s a fit for you, you’ll have to test it out to see if you can replicate their success.
What do you think? Have you used Facebook’s marketplace ads? How have they performed for you? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!