What’s that, Wall Street? You say you’d like to see more revenue streams out of Facebook? Here’s another one — or at least a potential one: Facebook is adding a feature that will make it easier for brands to push photos of their products to Facebook users, who can then collect the images in a Pinterest-style folder, or simply head to a retailer and buy it online.
Facebook isn’t charging anyone to use its tool set — yet. But you can see obvious ways that Sheryl Sandberg and company could use this stuff to make more money. The fact that they’re calling the feature “Collections” should be enough to signal the e-commerce potential.
And while Facebook says it is merely testing the new tools today, it is rolling them out throughout its U.S. user base this afternoon. This isn’t one of those experiments that Facebook confines to a small subset.
Facebook reps have provided examples of the way the images should appear in your feed, and what will happen if you “Collect,” “Want” or “Like” them — Facebook will test all three verbs. You can see some below, as soon as I can figure out how to use my computer.
Other bare-bones basics they’ve provided about the new tool:
- If they keep it around, it will eventually be available to any company that has a Facebook page.
- You’ll only see the images in your feed if you’re following that company — or if one of your pals interacts with the company’s product.
- Brands can’t turn the photo posts into “sponsored story” ads, for now. But you can certainly imagine that they could.
- Companies can add a link from the photo directly to an e-commerce site. Again, Facebook isn’t charging a referral fee. For now …
- Facebook is starting the experiment with seven retailers, including Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, Victoria’s Secret and Fab.com.