Facebook has been testing ads in its search results for more than six months, but only with a select few advertisers. Now that test is finally expanding.
In December, Facebook gave a small group of automotive and retail advertisers the ability to run ads in the platform’s primary search results and Marketplace search results. At the time, a Facebook Product Manager Zpheb Hajiyani said it was a small test and that the company would be evaluating if the ads were beneficial before expanding the placement option. Several marketers started noticing the search placement option showing up in their accounts this week.
Facebook’s search ad placement option.
What we know about Facebook search ads so far. Susan Wenograd, vice president of marketing strategy at Aimclear, and Steven Johns, marketing consultant at Door4, said that they saw the search ad placement option showing up in accounts this week.
“It appears as a placement item,” said Wenograd, “Interestingly, you can target it as a stand-alone placement. You don’t seem to be required to target the Feed, as well, in order to enable it.”
Johns shared screenshots on Twitter of the option for both News Feed search ad placements and Marketplace search ads.
What Facebook says. When asked if the Search ads were getting a broader roll-out to more advertisers, Facebook Product Manager Jason Rudin echoed what the company said about the ads when it began testing them at the end of last year: “We continue to test placing ads in Facebook search results and are evaluating whether these ads are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to roll them out more broadly.”
Who’s eligible and when do the ads show up? Facebook search ads are still limited to a small group of retail, auto and, now, e-commerce advertisers. The ads will appear in search results for queries deemed to have the same commercial intent — advertisers cannot select keywords or phrases for search ad campaigns.
The ad format is similar to News Feed ads, and include a headline, image and copy text. The ads also include a “Sponsored” tag, and product catalog sales, conversions and traffic objectives are supported.
Why we should care. As Facebook’s ad inventory continues to become more saturated, finding new ad placements is a win for both Facebook and advertisers. Having the option to run ads in Facebook’s search results — both in the News Feed and Marketplace — opens up a new opportunities, particularly for SMBs and service providers that will be able to reach engaged users searching for their services.
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