Facebook’s Pinteresque Collections feature began its second phase of testing today after debuting in October and disappearing 17 days later to be redesigned. As part of the test, 11 retailers are sharing product photos that users can Want, Save, Add, Collect or Wishlist, depending on the version of the test they see. Facebook wants to collect data on which design people like best before fully launching Collections.
Now anyone can try Collections by checking out the news feed posts from the Pages of retailers Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teens, West Elm, Michael Kors, Fab.com, Belk, Etsy, Macy’s, Old Navy, Mark & Graham, Wayfair.com. You can see a Collection in the wild here at Pottery Barn’s Page.
If you click the Want, Save, Add, Collect, or Wishlist button on a product photo from these Pages, it will be placed on the Pinterest board-style Collections area of your profile, and friends will see a news feed story about your activity. Facebook is hoping to make itself indispensable to e-commerce by helping to turn their products viral. When you collect something, the Timeline and news feed stories create opportunities for your friends to discover products and either Like their creator or click through and buy them.
Facebook tells me that “The goal of this test is to understand how people are interacting with and sharing items from a Collection in their news feeds…We’ve seen that businesses often use Pages to share information about their products through photo albums. With this test, people will be able to engage with these Collections in the news feed and share things they are interested in with their friends.”
Pinterest’s incredible growth over the last two years has demonstrated that people love to nest online. Facebook doesn’t want your digital home to be anywhere else. Along with soaking up engagement as people meticulously manicure their Collections, the feature could also pull in ad spend from retailers. With a high viral coefficient, it’d make sense for them to pay for Promoted Posts so more of their fans see each of their Collections posts.
If Collections sounds fun to you, try it soon. Facebook tells me that the test has an end date but didn’t specify when that would be. And if you do try it, don’t get too attached to your Collections until it comes out of beta. When Facebook ended the first test, everyone’s existing Collections were deleted.