Facebook debuts direct response ad units

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Facebook has released a new set of direct response ad units, updating its engagement ad platform that lets brands offer coupons and free samples to the social network's users.

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A is running one of the new units. The ad looks like a standard Facebook sponsored link, but it also has a call to action to "Get a free chicken biscuit now." When a user clicks on the link, a form solicits his or her shipping address.

“Marketers can actually get real products into people's hands, so when you are trying to give someone a taste for what you are offering, it is much more powerful,” said David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media and innovation at digital marketing agency 360i.

Nate Elliott, principal analyst at Forrester Research, added that this type of direct response ad unit will work best for packaged goods companies and retailers.

“If a marketer is looking to launch a new product, or change a consumer's opinion of a product, then [sampling] is a good strategy,” he said.

Facebook did not respond to phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

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