Facebook Dynamic Product Ads: A quick introduction

Over the past few months, Facebook released dynamic product listing ads. I’ve been experimenting with them, and the ROI is pretty epic, especially for e-commerce providers. Let me explain why.

Quick Overview

Here’s how Dynamic product ads work – first (and similar to Google shopping campaigns), you need to create and upload a list of the products you sell (aka a feed). Put simply, this is how you tell Facebook what inventory you have, how much it costs, etc. I believe there’s a way to manually upload a list, but I recommend spending the extra time, and building a living & breathing feed of products through an auto-generating XML file. The beauty of this type of advertising is that it’s dynamic, and therefore it requires less human labor if done right.

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Next, you need to add Facebook provided javascript code. The code needs to have certain product attributes (product id, etc) passed in, so Facebook can associate who has viewed what products. There’s also ways to create certain product sets (once again, similar to shopping campaigns), for organization/targeting purposes.

Finally, you can create extremely targeted advertisements on Facebook, which will show the products that the user saw (dynamically). It’s pretty insane, but incredibly effective. I’m seeing a 19x ROI on one of my tests. The best part, is that because you’re creating ads with variables (i.e. – {{product.name}}, you can create these targeted ads with ease. I’m extremely impressed so far.


While I’ve enjoyed using Perfect Audience and Adroll as abstraction layers for retargeting in the past, I really enjoy the flexibility of working directly with FB/Google directly. One major benefit to working directly w/ Facebook is the ability to do lightweight analysis on website visitors, and seeing Facebook insights about them. That’s a major benefit. Also, by removing a retargeting provider from the equation, I can increase my ROI.

What makes dynamic product ads so powerful?

First, I have the flexibility of showing ads only to people who visit the website, and don’t make a purchase. If you work in ecommerce, you know that a great conversion rate is maybe ~ 5%. So these ads target the large majority of people who don’t do the action you want (make a purchase).

Second, in the ads themselves, the product is something they were looking at earlier, so it’s hyper-targeted. Your call-to-action is much more potent because it’s tailored to the individual. Yay, technology!

Ad formats

These ads allow carousel formats, sidebar, and Facebook partner networks (I personally don’t use those). In my opinion, the holy grail is the carousel format – it works extremely well on mobile devices. Imagine showing 4-5 different products, and all the user has to do is swipe. My personal opinion is that I’d rather show people one product that they’ve already seen, and fallback to adjacent products in case that one wasn’t interesting.

Dynamic = Inventory Management

One reason why I love ads derived from feeds (besides the fact that I’m lazy), is that ads only show products that are in stock. This is the beauty of an auto-updating feed, and why I highly recommend working with a developer to make this possible.

In Conclusion

Try dynamic product ads! The time investment will be worth it, and it will pay for itself over and over.