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For those of a certain age we can clearly recall paging through the Sears Catalog every December, marking up the items we desperately wanted Santa to bring us for Christmas. Flash forward to the 90’s and even early 00’s and most of us can relate to the Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Linen Source, LTD. Commodities (and so many more) catalogs that bombarded our mailboxes.

In 2007, the peak number of catalogs were mailed, totaling 19.6 million. However, by 2016 retailers mailed out only 9.8 million catalogs.

The era of the print catalog is coming to its end, though some companies still want to use the catalog format. In fact, retailers are still spending nearly $21 billion to create and distribute print catalogs each year. Unfortunately, much like they do with the phone book, many consumers are simply tossing these print catalogs.

Companies using a catalog format need to figure out a way to keep their catalogs relevant. Lucky for them Facebook has launched a new ad format that allows them to harness the power of the catalog.

Facebook Lifestyle Templates

Facebook launched a new ad format on Monday called “Lifestyle Templates.” This format replicates the look of print catalogs. An added feature to this format is that consumers can purchase the items right in the Facebook ad itself.

“There are elements of the catalogue which are really unique and certainly worth replicating,” such as their “storytelling potential,” Graham Mudd, director of monetization marketing at Facebook, told Business Insider. “But, I think there are some elements that we’re bringing to the experience that are really specific to mobile and to Facebook.”

Inspirational Experiences

Regular ads on the Facebook platform are intended to grab the attention of a user and prompt them to click the ad to learn more about the product or take a specific action.

Catalogs have traditionally been a way to inspire consumers, providing them ideas of how they can decorate or how they can improve their lifestyle, creating a shopping experience that they can then purchase to replicate in their own home or life.

With the new Lifestyle Template, Facebook is allowing businesses to provide inspiration with the bonus of allowing the consumer to purchase the product(s) directly in the ad.

How It Works

Lifestyle ads will show up in the news feed like any other ad on Facebook. Upon clicking on the ad, it will open and show you more about the different items in the photo. Providing item descriptions and pricing for each item in the photo, much like the traditional print catalog layout.

Scrolling down will get you to a new “page” in the “catalog.”

If the user sees something they like, they can click on the “shop now” button and go directly to the online store.

“The Williams-Sonoma, Inc. brands were built on a legacy of storytelling through beautiful catalogues, inspiring customers and helping them to visualize their personal style in their homes,” Felix Carbullido, the CMO of Williams-Sonoma, which partnered with Facebook in the creation of lifestyle templates, said in an email to Business Insider. “The lifestyle template for collection is an exciting opportunity to unify our heritage in catalogue with a new lifestyle digital format designed to inspire our customers to discover new products, all on mobile where we know they are spending their time.”

To learn how to set up the Lifestyle Template for your ad campaign please visit Facebook Business Support.