Facebook removes Collections feature after test, prepares for full launch

Facebook hasn’t given up on Collections — the test feature that looked similar to Pinterest and allowed users to “want” or “collect” products that pages posted — but it temporarily removed all posts and activity related to it.

TechCrunch noticed that Collections were no longer visible on pages or users’ Timelines and confirmed with Facebook that the initial test period for the product is over, but the feature hasn’t been killed. The social network is looking to improve the product and create a mobile component, so it decided to shut down the existing version in the meantime.

“Product development on Collections has not stopped,” Facebook told TechCrunch. “Instead we have completed our initial test of Collections and are now analyzing the data to inform product development. For many of the product tests we do, we periodically pause the test to assess how to best progress with the product’s rollout.”

With Collections, Facebook worked with Michael Kors, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Victoria’s Secret, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics and Fab.com to test several variations of the feature. Collections posts featured large images that users could hover over and take an action. For some users that action was “Want,” though others saw “Collect” or “Like.” Clicking one of these buttons would save items to a section of users’ Timelines, either called “Products” or “Wishlist” depending which cohort users were in. Facebook also tested whether these lists should be visible to friends only or friends of friends.

When users browsed a collection, there were links directing users to buy the items from the retailer’s website. Collection posts also include native Facebook features such as Like, share, and comment. The social network is likely looking at all of these signals to understand engagement and purchase behavior.

This year Facebook has begun taking a vertical-by-vertical approach to developing products for marketers. Collections is an example of something seemingly developed with retailers and e-commerce sites specifically in mind.

While Collections is still being developed, retailers can work with third parties to offer similar functionality with Open Graph and News Feed apps. ShopIgniter, for instance, gives companies the option to create customizable interactive posts, including product collections, video showcases and limited-time storefronts with exclusive offers. See an example below.

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