Will Facebook's New Dynamic Ads for Retail Effectively Drive In-Store Conversions?

By Tinuiti Team
57% of shoppers prefer to make purchases in-store, but about 40% of shoppers prefer to research purchases on mobile, according to one 2016 consumer survey.
There hasn’t been a great way to fill the gap from Facebook Ads to in-store conversions—that is, until Facebook announced their new ad segment for Dynamic Ads—Dynamic Ads for Retail.


These ads are being hailed as the next big thing for retailers with a brick and mortar presence, but will Dynamic Ads for Retail really drive more offline conversions? We consulted two CPC Strategy experts in social, Sarah Rogers and Stephen Kerner, to find out what the value is likely to be for most omnichannel retailers.


What are Dynamic Ads for Retail?

Dynamic Ads are feed-based ads that serve up a retailer’s offerings on Facebook users’ feeds, and can be targeted to specific audiences based on actions they’ve taken on the website (for instance, adding items to a cart).

Side note: If you aren’t yet using Dynamic Ads (formerly “Dynamic Product Ads”), you’re missing out on one of Facebook’s easiest and most rewarding ads.

Dynamic Ads for Retail show browsers:


An even bigger development is the new “Store Visits” campaign objective. According to Facebook, this includes improved geo-targeting, which will allow advertisers to “define a targeting radius based on population density and desired reach” and get shoppers browsing in-store.

facebook ads for retail objectives
Currently available objectives.

The Benefits of Using Dynamic Ads for Retail

The benefits for brick-and-mortar stores are obvious—they can now compete with omnichannel retailers on Facebook. But for omnichannel retailers already using Dynamic Ads for retail, there are subtle benefits that go beyond the typical Dynamic Ads.

1. Branding for on-the-go customers

stephenI think they will be very powerful for branding and staying in front of customers when they are out and about.” says Kerner.




2. Driving online browsers to make offline conversions

sarah“This could be a powerful way to get online shoppers to offline stores,” Rogers points out. “And since Facebook has such a large mobile presence, I feel like this ad campaign has the potential to be very powerful for larger brands that have a large brick and mortar presence.”


Another potential benefit for stores that quality? Store visits reporting and optimization. However, this really does depend on the store size and location, which implies access is given at Facebook’s discretion.


Retailers That Will Benefit Most

If your store is located in a mall, it could be difficult to drive traffic to the right spot—even with directions.

That’s why Rogers speculate standalone brick and mortars will benefit most.

“It depends on the retailer,” Rogers says, “But it would be challenging to drive traffic to a store located in a mall or a busy area. I would still recommend trying it, and seeing if it provides a lift in in-store traffic, but I don’t anticipate it would be a majority of ad spend or would ever replace Dynamic Ads for those stores.”


Other potential challenges include measuring the success of the campaigns. Unlike good old Dynamic Ads, which are easily measured via Pixel-tracked conversions, it’s much more difficult to measure the ROI of your in-store visits.
facebook dynamic ads for retail
“Results are going to be estimates, and not as accurate as online only campaigns, which may be hard for some online marketers,” points out Kerner.
Rogers adds, “It’s going to be a little hard to prove how many people are coming from Facebook.”


Google faced this challenge with AdWords Store Visit Conversions. Mark Lawson (Managing Director of Ads Performance Marketing at Google) pointed this out in a 2015 Search Engine Land post:
Simply being near a store doesn’t automatically count as a visit. There are additional considerations…We know that a one minute visit isn’t the same thing as a thirty minute visit. One minute could simply mean that a shopper passed through a store on the way to get a hot pretzel from Auntie Anne’s at the food court. There’s even such a thing as too much time spent in one location. Employees who spend time at stores in long, discernible patterns aren’t counted as store visitors.
At the end of the day, like Google Adwords Store Visit Conversions, success will be measured by visits—not necessarily conversions.


“Again, I don’t think it’s not worth testing,” says Rogers. “But the KPI should be getting someone into your store. Proving conversions isn’t something [Dynamic Ads for Retail] allow for right now.”

The Bottom Line

“Facebook’s always trying to push the envelope [for ads on their platform]. A lot of major retailers have seen dips in their in-store traffic, and this will help address that problem,” says Rogers.

Kerner agrees: “I think this says Facebook is headed in the right direction to continue being a major player in the advertising industry.”

Will we be experimenting with Facebook Dynamic Ads for Retail at CPC Strategy? 


Well, yes. But with the right clients, according to Kerner and Rogers.
“I’ll continue to rely on DPAs,” says Kerner, “But I’ll bring this up to some of my clients that are more experimental with their offline budgets.”
Rogers agrees and says Q4 may be a prime time to test these ads.
“I do think someone on mobile would be more likely to go into an actual store. Additionally, I think it would be worth testing in Q4 because there will be a higher volume of people out shopping in brick and mortar stores, and it will be a good way to see if it’s effective on a larger scale.”


Of course, not all retailers can start using these ads right now. Facebook is currently testing the ad format with brands such as Pottery Barn and Target, but this option should be available to most retailers within the next few weeks.

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