Facebook is experimenting with Newsfeeds again -- the social networking company has added a 'Buy' button to sponsored ads, with hopes to attract impulse purchases and more ad dollars.
A handful of small and midsize businesses in the U.S. were said to have been selected to test drive the Buy button, which has appeared below sponsored ads in Facebook Newsfeeds. The Buy button has been made available for both the desktop and mobile versions of Facebook.
Facebook said it would share more information about the Buy button after it collected data on its usage. Facebook also promised to protect the financial data and privacy of it users, a point that had to be underscored after its study on user emotions prompted outrage from consumer rights groups.
"We've built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure," stated Facebook. "None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they'd like to save payment information for future purchases."
As analysts expect Facebook to collect 7.8 percent of global ad revenue, up from 5.8 percent in 2013, the social networking company's Buy button could help to drive that figure up just a bit. Facebook still faces an uphill fight to compete with Google, which has been expected to collect 31.5 percent of global ad revenue.
Facebook has long sought to enhance the monetization of its mobile app. The Buy button may be just what the company needs to attract more spending from advertisers and change the perception of the platform in the minds of business, according to EMarketer analyst Debra Aho.
"With this step, Facebook is becoming even more firmly established as a major player in direct-response advertising, and though this test is still only a test, it's a definite sign that Facebook wants to restart its efforts to become an e-commerce company as well," said Aho.
The Buy button comes on the heels of already implemented shopping tools such as the "Shop Now," "Book Now," "Sign Up," and "Learn More" buttons that Facebook rolled out in January 2014.
Before the shopping prompts, Facebook had begun testing a feature that allows businesses to select custom audiences for their ads back in October 2013. Businesses would develop profiles for their demographics by using data that included email addresses, usernames and phone numbers.