The social network says that adding the call to action is the first of several new features it plans to roll out for direct response marketers.

Facebook Inc. is giving retailers a new way to drive consumers to their sites.

The social network yesterday added a  feature to its Page Post ad unit—the ads in the news feed that, when clicked, drive consumers off of Facebook—that lets marketers add a Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now or Download button to their ads. The news feed is the first page a user sees when logging on to the social network.

When a marketer creates a Page Post ad driving traffic to a mobile or desktop site, he can click to add one of the buttons to the ad. The button appears in the lower right-hand corner of the ad.

The new buttons are the first of several new features the social network says it plans to roll out in the next few weeks aimed at providing direct response marketers with tools to reach people across devices and encourage them to take action.

Facebook also added functionality to its Custom Audiences  targeting tool that lets retailers and other marketers reach consumers who visit their web sites or mobile apps but leave before completing a purchase.  Custom Audiences lets Facebook advertisers target shoppers based on non-Facebook information they’ve collected, such as shoppers’ e-mail addresses, phone numbers and, among game and application developers, their user names. The advertiser need not share any personally identifiable data with Facebook.


The new feature, which Facebook began testing in October, enables an online-only bike retailer, for example, to reach a consumer who used its design-your-own bike tool but didn’t make a purchase. Using Custom Audiences, the retailer can display to that shopper a desktop news feed ad that encourages him to finish customizing the bike online. Or a fashion retailer that has a mobile app can deliver ads encouraging consumers who have downloaded its app but haven’t opened it in a while to use it to find new deals.

Retailers can leverage the tool by placing a Facebook remarketing pixel on their site, or using the Facebook or third-party software development kit in the brand’s mobile app to identify the user.

Some retailers say the ads are working. For instance, by using Custom Audiences to reach consumers who added an item to their carts on JackThreads’ app but didn’t purchase, the menswear online retailer says it has generated a 700% return on its ad spend.