June 19, 2012, 11:41 AM

Social shopping provider Payvment helps retailers target ads

The vendor’s targeting leverages demographic data from shoppers. 

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Payvment today launched a social marketing tool designed to make it easier for retailers to reach consumers through ads on Facebook. The social-shopping services provider says that the 165,000 retailers that use its platform to sell on the social network can employ the tool to automate the process of  targeting consumers via Facebook’s marketplace ads.

Those marketplace ads are display ads on the right-hand side of Facebook.com. The ads do not appear on mobile devices.

Users of Payvment’s platform can click to “Extend Your Reach” via a checkbox in the promotions section of the Payvment dashboard. When a retailer enters its total ad spend budget, the tool displays the estimated number of impressions the ad will receive. Payvment takes a 10% commission from every ad buy.

Payvment is leveraging the demographic data it gathers from shoppers’ social actions—which includes their purchases made through the vendor’s platform on the social network, as well as their use of the platform’s Want or Own buttons—in the algorithm it developed to predict which consumer segments are likely to be most interested in a seller’s products. Those predictions inform the ad buys. For example, Payvment can use the tool to help a retailer who sells power tools to target shoppers who Like Sears and who Own a power drill with an ad for a similar type of power tool, he says.

“The effectiveness of Facebook ads comes down to targeting,” says Christian Taylor, Payvment’s CEO. “Because we power so much shopping on Facebook and have two years of historical data that we add to every day on buyers and where they buy, we can come up with targeting scenarios that no one else can.”

Payvment tested the new targeting feature’s effectiveness by using it to buy ads for a particular retailer, while the retailer targeted ads on its own. Those tests found that ads bought via Payvment’s tool had up to a 25% higher click-through rate than ads the retailer bought on its own, the vendor says.

By adding the ability to buy ads via its Facebook storefront platform, Payvment is seeking to help its clients expand the reach of their storefronts. Most retailers using the platform are small- and medium-sized businesses and 37% of them sell only on Facebook.“Most of our sellers don’t have a lot of fans,” says Taylor. “This is a way to help consumers discover new products and for retailers to acquire new customers.”

That dovetails with Payvment’s broader initiatives, which include its Facebook virtual mall that brings together the wares of all of Payvment’s U.S.-based sellers so that Facebook users can browse, share and buy products from all those sellers without leaving the social network.

Payvment does not charge for its storefront platform, although it does offer a premium platform that enables retailers to dive more deeply into customer analytics. The new ad buying functionality will help the vendor as it seeks to achieve a profit, says Taylor. “We’ll give retailers the storefront for free, but they may have to pay for the tools to build an audience,” he says.

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