Why You Should Be Using Facebook Catalogs & Collection Ads


You’ve heard them mentioned in the odd marketing meeting; seen them name-dropped in tech articles and updates, but how aware are you of the full potential of Facebook Catalogs and Collection Ads?

If the answer is anything but ‘Extremely’, we recommend reading our guide on how best to utilise these innovative Facebook features.

What is a Facebook Catalog?

Facebook Catalogs is a useful tool that allows you to manage and promote your inventory across Facebook’s various platforms, including:

  • Facebook Ads
  • Facebook Shop
  • Instagram
  • Messenger
  • Audience Network

A Facebook Catalog is essentially a container for your stock. When creating one, you can pick a type that suits your products/services. Facebook currently offers formats for:

  • E-Commerce (products)
  • Travel (flights, destinations, hotels)
  • Real estate
  • Automotive (vehicle sales/lease)

Why do I need a Facebook Catalog?

A Facebook Catalog enhances your digital marketing efforts, facilitating the organisation and promotion of your products.

As soon as your Facebook Business Manager boasts a Catalog, you can:

  • Create dynamic ads targeted towards users who have shown an interest (looked at or searched for) your stock. This requires the installation of a Facebook pixel, as it uses analytics to form an ad based on items from your Catalog that the individual user is interested in.
  • Label your products in Facebook posts and Instagram content (including stories). This is in the form of a clickable tag that displays prices and descriptions. For more details on this, check out Instagram Shopping.
  • Promote your stock/services organically on your page with Facebook Shop. This can be found on the left-hand menu of your page, but it depends on your Facebook Page Template.
  • Create Collection Ads and Instant Experiences. These are “immersive mobile experiences” on Facebook and Instagram based on your Catalog. We’ve had fantastic success using Collection Ads with some of our e-commerce and automotive clients, attracting more sales and leads straight from Facebook.

How do I create a Facebook Catalog?

First things first, you need to set up a Facebook Business Manager account. This “allows advertisers to manage their marketing efforts in one place and share access to assets across their team, partner agencies and vendors.”

Once you’ve set up Business Manager, follow these instructions to create your Facebook Catalog:

  1. Head on over to Catalog Manager.
    Facebook Catalog Manager
  2. Select ‘Create Catalog’ and choose the option that matches your business.
  3. Decide how you want to upload your products to your Page’s Catalog feed. If you use an online eCommerce merchant such as Shopify or WooCommerce, Facebook can import your products for you. If you don’t, you need to select ‘Upload Product Info’.
    Upload to Facebook Catalog
  4. Select ‘Add Products’ and pick the product uploading method that best suits your business processes.
    Add Products to Facebook Catalog
    If your inventory is large (50 items or more), we recommend a data feed. A data feed uses a file to import your products – here’s how to create that file.

    The other option is to add the products to your Facebook Catalog manually, which takes roughly 2-3 minutes per product.

    Learn more about the methods for adding products to Facebook Catalogs.
  5. Once you’re happy with your Catalog’s inventory, you can start promoting it via Facebook and Instagram.

    Learn how you can customise your Catalog here.

What are product sets?

Product sets are essentially categories for your Facebook Catalog. Say, for example, you were an auto dealer. You could create different product sets for:

  • Vans
  • Pick-up trucks
  • Hatchbacks
  • Convertibles

And so on…

These come particularly in handy when adding products to your shop and creating ad campaigns, sets and collection ads.

Learn how to create a product set.

How to add Facebook Catalog to shop

Facebook Page admins can create a Facebook Shop and sell directly on the social network, without even the need for a website. This feature is tremendously aided by Facebook Catalogs, as you can use these to pull products and product sets direct to your Shop tab.

To add a Shop to your Facebook page, simply follow these instructions.

What is a Facebook Collection Ad?

A Facebook Collection ad is an ad format that pieces together your Facebook Catalog products to create an immersive canvas for the individual user.

Collection ads are responsive and dynamic, but only viewable on mobile devices. Your products are presented in a Collection Ad via a primary image, video or slideshow, with a grid of images below. Each image depicts a product, complete with description and price.

All of this is presented to the user, without them ever leaving Facebook or Instagram, offering the perfect seamless and smooth transaction.

Why should I use Collection Ads?

Collection Ads is an ad format that really taps into the facts that a) 55% of consumers have bought something online after discovering it on social media, and b) 49% of consumers use mobile devices for shopping.

This type of ad is ideal for instant customer acquisition and conversion, allowing you to optimise towards the following objectives:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales
  • Store Visits

If you want to stand out on the mobile timeline and stop those pesky thumbs from scrolling, Collection Ads are the way to do it, appearing as eye-catching, dynamic, moving ads that are bound to draw the right attention to your products.

In fact, Collection Ads are so good, that they have actually persuaded some marketers to neglect to create a website and instead stick with selling directly through Facebook.

How to create Facebook Collection Ads

By this point, we picture you on the edge of your seat, clawing at your desk for the quickest, simplest and most effective way to create these magical ads. Fear not, you’ll be ready to go in no time at all after you follow these instructions. If you’ve already created ads, campaigns and ad sets before, skip to Step 4 from the get-go.

  1. Head to Ads Manager (on Business Manager).
  2. Click ‘+ Create’. This will present the opportunity to select an objective from the aforementioned options.
  3. Select Website or App as your location before choosing your budget, audience and timings.
  4. Select ‘Collection’ when Facebook prompts you to pick an ad type.
  5. Create a new tab and pick your favourite template from the options provided.
  6. Ensure the Preview box is ticked so that you can see the changes you’re making as you make them.
  7. Add your chosen products and product sets.
  8. Input product titles, descriptions and prices where necessary. Ensure your Collection Ad has a seamless and attractive appearance that will appeal to your target market.
  9. Facebook recommends 25 characters for your headline.
  10. Confirm the changes and hey presto – you’re ready to publish and go live!

Leave it to the experts

Not got the time to create Facebook Catalogs and Collection Ads? Would you prefer to focus on other aspects of your business instead of learning how to do it yourself? Why not let us take the reins of your digital marketing?

We can train your staff or manage your digital marketing for you, including Pay Per Click, Content Management and much more! Explore our digital marketing services today before getting in touch with our creative team.

Oliver Wilkinson
Content Manager

Enjoyed learning about Facebook Catalogs and Collection Ads? Want to learn more? Check out our other Insights, including: