As far as I can tell, the feature seems to be linked to the “product catalog” feature inside Facebook Business Manager. Businesses can upload, via a custom XML format, a product catalog to Facebook which in the past could be used to automatically populate Facebook ads with product data such as name, description, pricing, and more. This was the premise for Facebook Dynamic Product ads, which allowed advertisers to create simple ad templates for dynamically showing ads based on the latest products a person visited on the company’s website. Companies can place Facebook ad pixels on product pages which link, via product ID, products with the uploaded product database.
Once a business has a product catalog uploaded, Facebook will show a new icon below posts you make on the Facebook Page, allowing you to include product attachments or “tags” to your Facebook posts. If there are no other attachments to the post (like a link or image), the product or products show as a large box below the post, when clicked taking you to the product’s page on your website. If an attachment already exists, I haven’t tested, but I believe it still marks the product with a link back to its page on your website as being tagged in the post.
So what value does this have to Facebook Page owners? It is one additional way to add attention to products you want to sell through your Facebook Page – for instance, if you do a Howto on Facebook about how to do something with one of your products you can tag the product as well, encouraging fans to go buy the product. It gives a little more attention and reason to go and purchase.
What I’m most excited about though is the potential this has for e-commerce in Facebook’s future. For instance, Facebook is currently working on a “buy” button for Facebook Pages allowing you to sell products right inside Facebook as a page owner. This allows you to attach the product, with its embedded “buy” button, potentially allowing fans to purchase the product right inside Facebook without ever leaving their favorite social network.
This release is just one step closer to Facebook’s e-commerce rollout. This is one reason states like Utah and New Mexico who are being approached by Facebook to have hosting facilities in their states should seriously be considering allowing these hosting facilities despite any cost it has to them. It gives these states “Nexus”, allowing them to charge sales tax from buyers when Facebook does become an e-commerce site, as is about to happen.
It’s important to pay attention to these product releases – this is just one step towards Facebook’s quest to be the number one e-commerce site in the world. Do you have this feature? How will you use it?