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Facebook Tests
Facebook Tests 'Collections' of Product Photos

By Barry Levine
October 8, 2012 2:43PM

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The Collections test is one of many initiatives by which Facebook is attempting to increase its commerce and ad revenue -- and shore up its flagging stock price -- by utilizing the site's dynamic features, notably News Feed. Facebook said that, if the test is successful, the Collections option will become available to any business with a Facebook page.

Facebook hearts Pinterest. So much so that the largest social networking site on the planet is now launching pages with product photos -- with click-to-buy.

Called "Collections," the new feature is designed for brands and retail sites to post images of their wares to attract users. Facebook is working with seven major brands in a test of the feature -- Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Victoria's Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics and

Collect, Want, Like

Fans who have "liked" a given brand will find images of that product in their News Feed. Images can contain text information, such as the brand name, product collection name, price and a brief description. Among other things, Collections could make "liking" an action that is more valuable to the brand, because it results in Collections being sent. Some of the ads that Facebook sells are intended to increase a company's "likes."

For each image, a user is given several interaction choices -- "collect," "want," or "like," as well as commenting options.

Images for which the response is "collect" or "like" will become part of a user's Timeline called Products, and a "want" click will result in the product image making its way to a Wishlist in the Timeline. Friends and family can see the Wishlist. If you "collect" the image to Products, only friends can see it, but if you "like" it to Products, it's also seen by friends of friends in your News Feed.

No Cut Yet

A user can click through on a product image that has been collected, in order to buy it. Reportedly, Facebook is not yet taking a cut of those sales, a situation which is expected to change if the feature catches on.

A Facebook spokesperson told news media that "businesses often use Pages to share information about their products through photo albums," and this feature is following that trend.

The company said that, if the test is successful, the Collections option will become available to any business with a Facebook page. For the moment, the images are only separate images with several options, rather than the kind of image-collection stories that can occur on Pinterest.

The Collections test is one of many initiatives by which Facebook is attempting to increase its commerce and ad revenue -- and shore up its flagging stock price -- by utilizing a variety of the site's dynamic features, notably News Feed.

In August, for instance, the site refined its marketing tools to allow targeting to a variety of new audience demographic subsets, including relationship status, education, college major and college name, and workplace, as well as age or gender.

But targeting of posts was not allowed for users who had visited the marketers' external Web sites and clicked those sites' Like buttons. Instead, marketers were encouraged to post content and Like buttons within Facebook, another move by the site to increase the value of its Like option.

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Posted: 2012-10-08 @ 4:35pm PT
Facebook's biggest problem is one that it cannot overcome - it has become irrelevant...

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