Last Updated: September 16, 2019
To sell products through Facebook or Instagram, you need to set up a store. If you are unable to create a shop on your Facebook Page (e.g. Facebook does not offer a Shop option in your country), you want to manage multiple catalogs, or you want to give an agency an access to your catalog, a top option is Business Manager through Facebook. Business Manager is a free and easy-to-use tool to help users manage all their ad accounts and Pages in a single place. Through the Business Manager you can create catalogs for Facebook (and Instagram).
Consider the catalog you’ll create in Business Manager as a container to hold inventory. You need a catalog to show a number of products in a collection ad or tag products in Instagram. If you want to run ads for your catalog, you’ll need a Facebook ad account and a Facebook Page. Otherwise, just a Business Manager account is sufficient.
Step 1: Create a Business Manager Account
To create an account, all you need is your business name and email address. Use a business email address to keep your Business Manager account separate from your personal social media account.
Step 2: Create Your Catalog
To create a catalog, head to Catalog Manager and click “Create Catalog.” Choose the type of catalog you want (options are e-commerce, travel, real estate, and auto) and click “Next.” Choose the business the catalog belongs to, give the catalog a name, and click “Create.” You’ll need to repeat the process from the beginning if you want the same catalog in more than one language.
Step 3: Add Items to Your Catalog
There are a few different ways to add items to your catalog. You can add them manually, use a data feed, use a merchant platform, or use the Facebook pixel.
Manually Adding Items
If you want less than 50 items in an e-commerce catalog, manually adding the items is an option. You’ll need to click “Add Products” once you’ve finished setting up your catalog and choose “Add Manually.”
For each item, you’ll need to input a name of no more than 26 characters and a price. The default currency is US dollars, but if you change the currency for one item, it will remain for all subsequent items. If you want to run dynamic ads, you’ll also need to add a Content ID. Save each product by clicking “Add Product” and create more by clicking “Add Another Product.”
Adding with a Data Feed
Adding items using a data feed gives you the chance to promote your inventory through retargeting, such as with dynamic ads.
To start, open a supported file format for the feed. Options are CSV, TSV, and XML. For real estate listings, you need to use XML. Once you’ve created a data feed file with all the necessary information, save the file. You can test it before you upload to Facebook with the product feed debugger tool.
To add the feed to your catalog, head to Catalog Manager, choose the catalog you want, and click “Data Sources.” Choose “Add Data Source,” then “Use Data Feeds,” and click “Next.”
You’ll also need to decide if you want to upload once or set a schedule. Select upload once if you are unlikely to make frequent changes to your inventory. Any changes will require uploading the feed again. By setting a schedule, however, you can have Facebook check for updates to your feed hourly, daily, or weekly. This requires uploading a feed on a website and providing Facebook with the URL, username, and password.
Finish by giving your data feed a name and choosing a default currency.
Using a Merchant Platform
If you already have inventory on a merchant platform, it will be faster to upload your inventory directly from there. This is possible with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Google, and WooCommerce.
Using Facebook Pixel
One last option is to use the Facebook pixel. This is possible only for e-commerce catalogs. It is useful if you regularly update your inventory, as the catalog will update automatically.
You’ll first need to install the Facebook pixel on your website, select the correct events to track, and install the necessary microtags for each item. To continue, a pixel must have fired in last seven days. This means you may need to wait if you have low website traffic. Or you can view an item yourself on the page.
Next, head to Catalog Manager, choose the right catalog, and click “Data Sources.” Select “Add Data Source” and choose “Connect Facebook Pixels.” Choose the pixel to associate with the catalog — it will need to meet certain requirements. Click “Next” to upload items to your catalog and click “Done.”
Step 4: Manage the Catalogs
You can see all the catalogs you manage in Business Manager by choosing your account and clicking “Data Sources” followed by “Catalogs.” Here, you can add new users, partners, and items, change permissions (the options are admin and advertiser), and associate sources.
If you are an agency, you can also request access to more catalogs. Do this in Business Manager by choosing your account and clicking “Data Sources” followed by “Catalogs.” Under “+ Add,” find the option “Request Access to Catalog.” You can then choose to add the catalog to an existing Page or to create a new Page. Follow the remaining instructions to finish requesting access.
Finally, you can delete a catalog at any time by finding the catalog and heading to “Settings.” At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the option “Delete Catalog.” Clicking this will remove the catalog, its inventory, and any related ads.
Once you’ve created a catalog in Business Manager, you’ll have more opportunities to advertise on both Facebook and Instagram. For instance, this is an ideal way to start taking advantage of features like shoppable posts in Instagram.
This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated with current information.