Retargeting ads are the new pop-ups that people love to complain about. That’s why Facebook’s 3-year-old ad feedback option “I already own this” would seem like a no-brainer. But the feature is not embraced by Facebook or media buyers.
Five ad buyers said they weren’t aware of the feature for Facebook ads until Digiday showed it to them. For their sake, the option isn’t available in the standard ad unit in News Feed. It’s not even available on mobile, where the majority — 92 percent in the third quarter of 2018 — of revenue is made. Rather, users can only access it for ads in the sidebar on the desktop version of Facebook.
But buyers were intrigued by the option, which would be another data input to identify customers or potential ones. While Facebook’s pixel can help with attribution from Facebook ads to online sales, that attribution is lost if users were to make a purchase in-store. Facebook’s News Feed ads only allow users to report an ad or hide an ad, where the reasons are lack of relevancy, frequency or inappropriateness.
Other retargeting ad providers, including Facebook’s duopoly friend Google, also don’t have the option. Google’s ads shown in-line with online content have a “hide” feature and will then ask users if they were: Not interested in this ad; Seen this ad multiple times; Ad was inappropriate; Ad covered content. Of course, retargeting to customers through platforms like Criteo and AdRoll isn’t necessarily wasted ad dollars.
Troy Osinoff, co-founder of digital agency Juice, said the option would be useful to ad buyers like himself. But that usefulness depends on if Facebook would actually share the data to the advertiser.
“The ‘I already bought this’ button is helpful as a marketer if Facebook passes along the information. This could be a helpful way to mark offline sales with no digital attribution. Even if Facebook does not pass this information on, it’s a great alternative to hiding an ad, since that has a negative impact,” Osinoff said.