Facebook Collaborative Ads Will Create New Opportunities for Advertisers

someone purchasing an item on their laptop with the text collaborative ads

We have been able to leverage Facebook’s ad platform in incredible ways over the years as it has developed. Sleek collection ads and instant experience formats are impressive, but so many social media marketers grapple with Facebook’s competitive newsfeed and return on ad spend metrics.

Facebook has been working to make changes to both improve user experience, and to get advertisers better results in a space with diminishing ad real estate. Balancing a commitment to include more content from your friends on Facebook with the financial engine of the company is no small feat.

Facebook’s announcement to move budgeting to the campaign level is one of the ways they believe will encourage better competition and get the best performing ads in front of more people. Another way they’re helping advertisers spend their budgets more effectively on the social media giant’s ad platform is through Collaborative Ads.

About Collaborative Ads

The new Collaborative Ads program will enable brands to run dynamic ads leveraging their retailer’s catalog. Before this program began, brands could upload a catalog of products to Facebook so the ad platform could serve a user an ad showing the exact product they browsed. As long as the advertiser has an ecommerce site and correctly configured Facebook pixel, or a mobile app with SDK, this is something that’s relatively commonplace. If you don’t have ecommerce though, things are a bit more complicated.

By serving ads based on what users have previously browsed, there is a higher likelihood of converting and a better return on ad spend. Before Collaborative Ads launched, brands that did not have ecommerce were not able to serve dynamic, product specific ads that led directly to a page they could purchase the product from.

For example…

Screenshot via Facebook Collaborative Ads

Akemia Headphones wants to advertise their products on Facebook, but they don’t sell their products through their site, rather, they sell them on JasperMarket.com. Since Akemia Headphones has a variety of products, they want to serve wireless headphone ads to Facebook users who have previously looked at their wireless headphones on Jasper Market. Collaborative ads will allow Akemia Headphones to do this.


There is no question that retargeting is a vital piece of any brand’s advertising strategy. Right now, most large brands are retargeting potential customers who haven’t converted yet whether they have an ecommerce site or not. Getting your ad in front of someone already interested in your products is a no brainer. While many things go into leading a potential customer down a marketing funnel, a conversion will often happen when fewer clicks are involved. Driving a captive audience right to the retailer will be a far better use of ad spend than driving those same users to your site where they have to navigate to the retailer from there.

Cross-Device Advertising

Say what you want about Facebook, but their ability to target users across devices is unparalleled. Where Google falls short as people use ad blockers and private browsers, Facebook targets via a people-based Multi-Touch Attribution model. Measurement based on cookies alone can leave out vital points in the conversion path, especially since fifty percent of people use more than three devices before making a purchase decision and sixty-five percent access their mobile device while in-store shopping, according to a Nielsen study1. With Collaborative Ads, brands will be able to insert a brand impression along that path which encourages qualified traffic to convert with fewer clicks.

From this marketer’s perspective, this is another step toward creating a better experience for both advertisers and for people on the social network. Though there is a belief on the user-end that retargeted ads are “creepy”, at the end of the day, users of social media are going to be served ads. Personally, I’d prefer them to be as relevant to me as they can be.

If you are brand in the US looking to start using Collaborative ads, you’ll have to wait until the idea is more fully adopted by retailers. As of the writing of this article, the only available Collaborative Ads merchants are Boxed and Jet. To help speed up the process, try requesting a new merchant.

1Nielsen DAR norms, March 2015

Kristen Semple
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Kristen Semple
Kristen Semple blends her expertise in social media marketing and creative writing to create SEO-driven content. She’s passionate about corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement.
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