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social media how toAre you familiar with Facebook dynamic product ads?

Facebook dynamic product ads allow you to reach customers with relevant offers by automatically showing them ads for the products they’re interested in.

In this article I’ll share how to set up and best utilize Facebook Dynamic Product ads.

What Are Facebook Dynamic Product Ads?

Despite the recent buzz about Facebook dynamic product ads, there is surprisingly little detailed information available, largely due to their limited availability and the highly technical documentation provided by Facebook.

Plus, these ads are being regularly confused with Facebook’s multi-product ads, which may look similar but offer very different capabilities.

set up facebook dynamic product ads

Discover how to set up Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads.

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So before I get started, let me define what these ads are. With Facebook dynamic product ads, you can:

  • Automatically generate ads based on your product catalog and an ad template you create
  • Show specific product ads based on what users have viewed on your website
  • Use lookalike audiences to find more people who may be interested in a specific product

It’s important to note that Facebook dynamic product ads are currently only available using the Facebook API, but they’re expected to be added to Power Editor soon.

Also, unlike other ad types, they require prep work such as uploading a product catalog before you can start creating ads.

Below are the steps for setting up your new Facebook dynamic product ads.

#1: Establish a Facebook Business Manager Account

If you’ve never set up a Facebook business manager account, it’s similar to an MCC account in Google AdWords. You have the ability to manage multiple accounts and control user access, making it helpful if you manage multiple businesses, pages and employees.

To set one up, visit business.facebook.com, and follow the steps provided on-screen. Once complete, you’ll see a screen like the one below.

facebook business manager overview

Get started with a Facebook business manager account.

#2: Create a Product Catalog

There are two ways to import your product feed into Facebook. You can either point to a dynamically generated feed file or you can upload a .csv file with your product data.

Since these dynamic product ads are new, your ecommerce platform probably doesn’t support a native feed file designed for Facebook yet, so we’ll focus on generating a .csv file you can upload.

csv image shutterstock 188692712

Use a .csv file to build your catalog. Image: Shutterstock.

When you create your .csv file, include the following fields to import it:

ID: A unique identifier with a maximum of 100 alphanumeric characters.
Availability: You must include one of the following preset values or you will generate an error:

  • In stock (item will ship immediately)
  • Out of stock (no plan to restock)
  • Preorder (will be available in future)
  • Available for order (ships in 1-2 weeks)

Condition: Another field that requires a preset value: new, refurbished or used.
Description: This can be a maximum of 5,000 characters.
Image_link: Images will be displayed at 1200 x 630 pixels and should maintain an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. The field has a maximum of 100 characters, so if you have a long link, use a shortened URL.
Link: A direct link to buy the product. Again, there is a maximum of 100 characters, so you may need to use a shortened URL.
Title: This is the product title. You can use up to 100 characters.
Price: The required format is as follows: 9.99 USD.
Gtin: This is the global trade number. The following formats are acceptable: UPC, EAN, JAN and ISBN. You can use a maximum of 70 characters.
Mpn: This is the manufacturer’s number. You can use a maximum of 70 characters.
Brand: This is the name of the product’s brand. You can use a maximum of 70 characters.

Facebook offers a ton of additional fields that are optional. You can view them under the Optional Field section on Facebook’s product catalog setup page.

Here’s an example of a completed Excel spreadsheet for a product catalog:

product csv sheet

Create a product .csv file to import.

Based on my tests, I’ve found that the following settings work best for uploading your .csv file to Facebook.

csv file settings

Use these settings to import your product .csv file.

Once your file is uploaded, you’ll see the product catalog listed in the main area of your business manager account.

In my tests—and the example Excel sheet above—my product catalog did not actually include traditional products, but blog posts instead. This is important to note because it makes Facebook dynamic product ads incredibly versatile.

Consider that, despite the name, dynamic product ads can simply be “dynamic ads” if you provide different data. For example, if you offer online training courses, you can upload your entire class list. Or a realtor could upload his or her housing inventory. This opens up a world of options as we test what works and what doesn’t.

#3: Set Up the Custom Audience Pixel

The custom audience pixel is what lets you gather information about visitors to your website—and this is where the magic happens. You can learn more about pixel setup here.

There are three mandatory pixel events: ViewContent, AddToCart and Purchase. These allow dynamic product ads to determine who viewed a specific product and also whether that person added it to their cart or ultimately purchased it.

ViewContent Pixel

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the standard custom audience pixel and the new ViewContent pixel. You will notice that they are almost identical with the exception of the highlighted area.

viewcontent pixel

ViewContent Pixel code.

When you add the ViewContent pixel to a product page, you need to insert that product’s specific ID manually or via a tag from your ecommerce platform.

You must match the specific ID with the ID you uploaded in your catalog spreadsheet because it serves as the link between the products viewed on your website and the ones Facebook shows in ads.

AddToCart Pixel

There are two ways to add this pixel depending on how your shopping cart handles adding items to the cart.

If you have a dedicated Add to Cart page, then you can simply put in the AddToCart Page pixel provided below. However, if you have a dynamic cart without a dedicated Add to Cart page, you must fire the pixel when the Add to Cart button is clicked, which requires changes to the JavaScript or AJAX code.

Remember, you must dynamically add that specific product’s ID when they are fired in either scenario, so you may require developer assistance.

addtocart pixel

AddToCartButton code.

Purchase Pixel

This pixel is important because it will prevent you from marketing a product if a customer has already purchased it. (Or you have the opportunity to market it to them again, if it’s something they may want to purchase again.)

Unlike the other pixels, you’re not just adding a single product ID but a list of IDs for all products purchased. Remember, just because a product is added to the cart doesn’t mean it will ultimately be purchased, so you may require the help of your developer to concatenate all of the product IDs into a list.

purchase pixel

Purchase Pixel code.

When you’ve completed this step, you should have the regular custom audience pixel throughout your website, but you’ll replace your existing custom audience pixels on your product and cart pages with the new modified pixels.

#4: Build Dynamic Ad Templates

This is where you customize the messaging for each product. Dynamic ad templates allow you to map data fields in your product catalog to specific places in the text of your Facebook ads.

Essentially, you are pulling data (such as product name and price) out of that catalog and adding it to the ad. It’s similar to how Merge Fields works in Microsoft Word and Excel.

There are three fields where you can do this: the message of your ad, the name (or title) of your ad or the description of your ad.

dynamic ad template

Build your dynamic ad template to suit your needs.

Currently, the template items (variables) available to merge are:

  • Brand
  • Description
  • Name
  • Price (e.g., $1,234.56)
  • Current_price (the formatted sale price if the product has one and is currently on sale)

To add a variable, use double brackets around the field type. For example, you could write “All {{brand}} on Sale Today Only” as the name of your ad. Facebook would then automatically grab the brand value from your product catalog and add it to the text for your ad.

So let’s say you sell toys and you create a variable like the one above that pulls the brand in. An ad for one product might read, “All Fisher-Price on Sale Today Only” while an ad for another product might read “All Melissa & Doug on Sale Today Only.”

Remember, you can use each of those template items in the message, name and title of the ad, so you’ll want to A/B test different ideas to see what performs best across your ad set.

Prepare for Dynamic Product Ads Release in Power Editor

Most marketers don’t have the ability to create dynamic templates yet since they’re only available through the Facebook API—but the feature is being rolled out to Power Editor. It’s a good idea to take steps now to get ready.

plan image shutterstock 123085243

Get prepared for Facebook Dynamic Ads. Image: Shutterstock.

  1. Prepare your product catalog. If you have the technical resources available, start creating your dynamically generated feed file. If not, you can put together your Excel spreadsheet and optimize the data: the file format, images, image sizes and text lengths. Then upload them and test the import.
  2. Get your custom audience pixel instrumented. By doing it now, you won’t have to wait 30 days to get your audience completely targeted. You’ll be ready to start as soon as dynamic product ads hit general availability, putting you ahead of the competition.
  3. Build your product templates. Determine how you want to position and market your products using the merged data fields. In fact, you can likely hard-code this in normal product ads now and test the creative. That way you’ll have a library of ad copy that works immediately with the merged fields once they’re available.
  4. Develop your marketing tactics. With the ability to target based on a whole new set of behaviors, consider what new opportunities are available for promotions, tactics, cross-selling, interest targeting and more that can help you outperform competitors.

Those using Facebook dynamic product ads already report positive results, so it may pay to prepare now to get ahead of the curve. Jumping immediately on your ability to dynamically and more accurately target ads to your customers’ specific needs can make a big difference for your ad campaign’s ROI.

What do you think? Do you have access to Facebook dynamic product ads? What tactics are you excited to test with the new capabilities available to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

CSV icon photo and Plan prepare perform photo from Shutterstock.
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