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Everyone who advertises products on Facebook has come across a catalog. Just as Google Merchant Center for Google Ads, a product catalog for Facebook is essential when you want to create ads using a product file. Whether there are ten or a thousand products in your store, you should know what it is, how to create and how to use a product catalog for Facebook. The following article will answer all these questions, as well as outline the many advantages of using a catalog.
What is a product catalog?
A catalog is a place where you can find all the information about the products you sell on Facebook and Instagram. Whether your product is clothing, airline tickets or take-out meals, you need to use the catalog. It’s from here that your campaigns will retrieve information about which products to display on ads and what their name, price, photo, etc.
To find the catalog, go to the sales manager after logging into your Facebook business account. One of the tabs on the left menu will be just “Catalog”. After expanding it, you will see a list of options to choose from:
- Items – the place where all previously added products, available for advertising, are displayed. In addition to the name of the product, here we will see its photo, possible variants and availability. We can also filter them by attributes, which will make it easier, for example, to plan a campaign.
- Sets – the products we have added to the catalog can be divided into sets. This is done because we rarely advertise all products in one ad. More about sets in the following section.
- Problems – in this tab we will find all the problems concerning our catalog and the possibilities of solving them. The most common problems here will be missing product attributes, low quality photos or products rejected due to Facebook regulations. Here we will also find the “Possibilities” tab, which will show us ways to improve the quality of our catalog.
- Sources of data – just like in Google Merchant Center, we can add products manually or with the help of various sources. Here we will choose the method we are interested in and configure the product information. I will write more about adding products in a separate paragraph.
- Events – a segment linked to event sources. Here we will indicate the Meta pixel or Facebook SDK from which the catalog should retrieve information about products.
How to create a product catalog?
If you already have a Facebook page and an account in business manager, then you can create a product catalog. To do this, go to the sales manager and then to the “Resources” menu. When you do this, you will see a screen divided into several segments, including “Sales Accounts” or just “Catalogs.” In the “Catalogs” segment, select the blue button that says “Add Catalog.” This will activate a wizard that will guide you through the process.
The first step will be to indicate the type of catalog that fits our company. Depending on the industry, we will indicate one of six types:
- Electronic commerce
- Local trade and delivery
- Real estate
- Entertainment and media
Creating a catalog for each type differs by individual options. Since e-commerce is the most commonly chosen option, the following steps will cover this path.
When we have already indicated “e-commerce”, the next step will be to configure the catalog settings. We need to choose between uploading product information or linking the catalog to a partner platform. If our store uses platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce (or another partner platform), we will choose the linking option. In other cases, we will want to upload product information ourselves. In addition to indicating the upload method, we still need to indicate the owner of the product catalog and name it. Once this is done, the catalog will be ready.
How to add products to the catalog?
If you have created a catalog without integration with an affiliate platform, it will be initially empty. In order for it to start fulfilling its basic functions, we need to add the products we want to offer to our customers to it.
We will do this by going to the “Data Sources” tab, and then indicating the preferred method for adding products.
This option allows us to manually fill in product data using a form. Manual upload is used rarely, mainly if we have a small assortment and it is not changed often. By selecting this option, we will have to manually upload the product photo and enter all its attributes:
- title (up to 200 characters),
- link to product on website,
- currency and price,
- price on sale (optional),
- category of the product according to Facebook (selection from the list),
- state of the product,
- brand (optional),
- content identifier (optional),
The list of products added manually can be as long as you want, but the more we want to add, the more time-consuming it will be.
If the products in your store are many, and you manage the assortment using Excel or Google Sheets, then “Data Summary” will be a good choice. The only thing you need to pay attention to is the correct naming of columns and their contents. This won’t be difficult, as Facebook provides a template along with an example of how a product data statement file should look. Once we prepare such a file, all we need to do is upload it in one of three ways:
- Submit a file from your computer: a file in CSV, TSV or XML extension with a size of up to 100 MB. After uploading, all products will be verified, and any errors will be found on the summary screen.
- Using the URL: a way that is often used in Google Merchant Center – just paste the link to the properly prepared product feed into the text box, and then accept. The link can lead to any hosting service or to your website. The limitation is extensions as in the case of uploading a file from a computer and a maximum size of 8 GB.
- Submit a link to Google Sheet: a combination of the above two ways – paste here a link to Google Sheet, which was prepared according to the template. Be sure to remember the appropriate permissions when copying the link from the Sheets.
If we choose to use the URL or Google Sheets, we will need to set a schedule for downloading the contents of the file. Depending on how fast our merchandise rotates in the store, we will choose hourly or daily. It is worth taking into account here the hour our store system generates the feed, so that the content refreshed by Facebook is as recent as possible. For example: if our system finishes generating the product feed at 2:00 am, here we will set the time to 2:30 am.
When the schedule is set, go ahead and fill in the formalities, such as the name of the data file or the currency.
It may happen that the columns in our file are named differently than in the template. Facebook will notify us of this and allow us to indicate which column corresponds to which one from the template.
Now just click the “Submit” button and check any errors that appear in the “Problems” section.
Facebook allows direct directory connection to some e-commerce systems. For the most part, the setup is done in the client’s domain, where the connection wizard requires different actions, depending on the platform. To create a connection, indicate the platform of our store, and then click on the link, which will take us to detailed instructions. This is the most convenient way – the data is refreshed in real time, so there are no differences between Facebook and the store.
Facebook Pixel tracks and saves changes to our site. If configured correctly, it can also automatically add items from your site to the directory. This option is recommended if we use dynamic ads.
While we’ve added all the products to the catalog, we won’t always want to use them all at once. When running a clothing store, some ads will be for sweaters only, specific collections or products with a particular price, for example. In order to use such a division in ads, you need to create the appropriate product sets. This is done by going to the “Sets” tab, and then selecting the “Create Set” button.
Products that will be in a given set can be indicated manually (if there are few of them) or we can use filters. If we choose the second option, Facebook will ask us to indicate the filtered attribute of the products (e.g. brand, color, category or price). There can be several conditions – the set can include, for example, all sweaters (attribute: product category) with a price lower than PLN 100 (attribute: price). It is also possible to use other logical operators, such as:
- any of those listed
- is other than
- does not contain
When creating a set, we indicate whether the product should meet all of the listed conditions, or if only one is enough.
When the kits are already created, we can select them when creating advertising campaigns.
What does the catalog allow?
As I mentioned at the beginning – a catalog is a staple when it comes to selling products on Facebook In addition to just being able to display products on Facebook, it allows you to, among other things:
- Create dynamic ads that independently retrieve product data from the catalog and display it as a carousel or collection.
- Create ads with product tags.
- Creation of ads as remarketing dynamic, so that users who viewed a product but did not buy it will see it again in the form of an ad.
- Displaying products on Marketplace and Facebook stores.
- Create shared ads (for example, when you run a store with products from different manufacturers). The manufacturer can provide your company with a part of its catalog, which you can use when creating ads.
The catalog is not a complicated tool. It’s much simpler and doesn’t provide as many options as Google Merchant Center. Ads using products on Facebook are not yet as elaborate as their Google counterparts, so this is perfectly understandable. However, it does allow us to easily add and share products, which we can then use in ads. At this point, other options, such as editing the feed, are unnecessary – we can easily do this from the store management system.
It is certain that Facebook sellers will always be exposed to a directory. However, you don’t have to catch yourself in the head when you need to look into it to fix errors that Facebook’s algorithms catch. The tool is simple enough that anyone can handle the most basic functions of the directory after reading this article. However, if you run into any problems that you won’t know how to fix on your own, it’s worth contacting Facebook support or digital marketing agency
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Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.