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How to create a catalog on Facebook Ads? Integration, Manual and Product List

If you sell through Facebook stores or use Facebook Ads, you cannot miss its function to create your product catalog with Commerce Manager.

Creating your own catalog makes the task of selling on Facebook much easier. In addition, it is not only used for stores with physical products, but also for other sectors such as hotels, flights, tourist destinations, homes, or vehicles.

How do catalogs work in Facebook Ads?

A catalog is a collection of information about all the items that you want to advertise or sell on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook recommends creating a single catalog for all your articles, even if you plan to set up multiple stores, as this allows you to manage all articles more efficiently and consolidate your audience.

These are some of the main functions of catalogs:

  • Add and manage information about your articles: titles, images, descriptions, prices, variants.
  • Upload your articles, either manually or in bulk (we’ll see how to do it later).
  • Create ad sets or product collections for your stores to create smaller groups of items within your catalog.
  • Assign permissions to other people or companies with whom you collaborate to work on your catalog in a coordinated way.
  • Upload country and language information so that customers automatically see the correct information and price based on their location.

Once your catalog is created, you can link it with the Facebook and Instagram sales channels or with Facebook Ads.

Sales channels

Facebook Stores – Stores serve as a unified digital storefront on Facebook and Instagram. You can customize them, create featured collections, and tag products in Instagram shopping posts and stories.

Marketplace: This platform is more geared towards a local audience and second-hand products.

Facebook Ads

You can promote the products in your catalog with different types of Facebook Ads, such as:

  • Dynamic ads: Dynamic ads show the user the most relevant products in your catalog. This segmentation is done from a Facebook pixel or an SDK.
  • Product tag ads: These ads are used to promote specific items in your catalog. Clicking on a tag takes the user to the product detail page, where they can view more information or purchase the product.
  • Collection ads: with this format you can display four items from your catalog under one main image or video. Users can click to get more information or see other similar products.
  • Ads by sequence: use this format to dynamically display different products from your catalog. You can include several images or videos, each with its own link so that people can go through and see them one by one.
  • Collaborative Ads: This format is used to publish direct sales campaigns with collaborating partners. The partner shares a snippet of their catalog with your company, which you can use to serve dynamic ads.

How to create your catalog on Facebook step by step

To start using Facebook Ads catalogs, you must first have a Facebook page for your company and a Business Manager account with administrator access. Once you meet these requirements, you just have to follow these steps:

  1. Go to Commerce Manager.
  2. If you’re creating a catalog for the first time, select Create a catalog, and then click Get started. If you already have catalogs, you will see a list of all of them and you can click + Add a catalog to create a new one. Remember that Facebook recommends having a single catalog for all your articles.
  3. Select the type of inventory you need for your products and click Next.
  4. If you have an e-commerce account with products, you will have to choose how to add items to your catalog. The options are Upload product information (to add them personally to Commerce Manager) or Connect a partner platform (to import the items to Facebook from the platform).
  5. Link your catalog to a Business Manager account (you must be an administrator of it). In this way, you will have more options to use your catalog and you can assign other people to work on it.
  6. Enter the name of the catalog and click Create. You are now ready to start adding products!

How to Add Items to a Catalog Manually

Facebook Ads recommends using this option if you have less than 50 articles. Please note that homes cannot be added manually. You can add the articles one by one or in bulk.

Add items to the catalog one at a time

  1. Go to Commerce Manager and select your catalog.
  2. Open the Catalog tab and go to Articles.
  3. Select Add Items. If a drop-down menu appears, select Add an item. If not, select Manual and then Next.
  4. Add the item information: image, name, description, and other details. Facebook recommends adding as much information as possible, as this helps users make better purchasing decisions. If you see the Advanced button in the upper right corner, select it to see and fill out more fields.
  5. You want to show this product with dynamic ads, enter a catalog item content identifier that matches its content identifier in the Facebook pixel code on your website.
  6. If you sell physical products, use the Create variants section to choose if you want to add more variants of the item, for example, different sizes or colors.
  7. Select Finish to save the item to the catalog.

Add multiple items at once

If you sell products through an eCommerce, you can add them to the catalog in bulk through a form. This feature is not available for other types of items, such as hotels, flights, destinations, homes, or vehicles.

To manually add multiple items to the catalog at the same time, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Commerce Manager and select your catalog.
  2. Open the Catalog tab and go to articles.
  3. Select Add Articles, then Add Multiple Articles.
  4. Select Manual and click Next.
  5. You will see a form similar to a spreadsheet. Each row contains information for a different article. Fill in as much information as possible about each of them, including the name, description, and other details.
  6. If you want to show a product with dynamic ads, enter a catalog item content identifier that matches its content identifier in the Facebook pixel code on your website.
  7. If you want to add variants of an item, for example, different sizes and colors, select the icon with two pages on the left side of the row for that item and select Add variant from the drop-down menu. Edit the specific information for the new variant, and if you want to add more variants, select + New variant.
  8. If you want to duplicate an article, select the icon with two pages and select Duplicate article from the drop-down menu. Edit the specific information of the article you have copied.
  9. To add more items, you can use the + New Row option or select the drop-down menu to add 5 to 10 rows at a time.
  10. When you have finished adding all the information about the articles, select Upload articles in the lower right corner and click Done in the confirmation window.

How to add items to a catalog with a list of data

If you have more than 50 items in your catalog, Facebook Ads recommends uploading them using a data list. You can upload all the articles at once or configure your catalog to update regularly.

To be able to upload articles in bulk, you will first have to create a file from a Facebook catalog template (you can download it through Commerce Manager). The file must be in CSV, TSV, or XML format or in Google Sheets. If you want the articles to be uploaded periodically, you will need to save the file on your server, on a hosting website like Dropbox, or in Google Sheets. Then follow these steps:

  1. Go to Commerce Manager and select your catalog.
  2. Open the Catalog tab and go to Data sources.
  3. Select Add items. If a drop-down menu appears, select Add Multiple Items.
  4. Select Data List and then Next.
  5. Under Is your file or datasheet ready ?, select Yes. (If you select no, you will be able to download the catalog template).
  6. If you want to check if your file is in the correct format, select Check file. Copy multiple rows from the file and select Validate to detect possible errors.
  7. Choose whether you want to upload your file from your computer, from a URL, or from Google Sheets. Remember that with the first option you will not be able to configure periodic updates.
  8. Select Save list and upload articles.
  9. If there are any issues with the columns in your file, a list of errors will appear below. Fix them and select Upload. Facebook will create a series of data list rules to fix automatically next time.


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