By Jackie Maness

Facebook Search Ads are Back… Tell a Friend

Facebook is back at it again. Recently, the ever-evolving social platform announced the expansion of their social media marketing options with the re-testing of ads on its search results pages. These ads will appear similar to the ads that appear in the Facebook News feed, with a headline, image, copy and a link to an external website. However, these ads will appear in the Facebook search results page.

Yes, we said re-testing. Back in 2012, Facebook originally introduced search ads on the platform, but then decided to shut it down the following year, taking a step back and tweaking the initiative.

Facebook is using a beta test period to see if search ads can be successful on the social platform. So, what does this mean for you as a consumer? Let’s break down exactly what you’ll need to know about Facebook’s new test:

1: Testing is only on Mobile Apps and Marketplace

For now, Facebook is only testing search ads on mobile devices (more specifically, Android devices). Apple users will likely see Facebook search ads on their devices some time in the future.

2: It’s an Industry-Specific Test

You won’t be bombarded by ads in every search you make, at least not for now. Facebook is currently testing this advertising initiative with a small set of industries (automotive, retail, and e-commerce). Advertisers in these industries will be able to display ads to consumers searching for terms related to their offerings. Also, they’re only testing in the U.S. and Canada.

3: The Format is Familiar

If you use the Facebook mobile app, you’ve likely seen a newsfeed ad a time or two. The new search ads will have a similar format, utilizing the same headline, text format, and image size. You will be able to clearly see that “Sponsored” tag on each ad.

4: Advertisers Can’t Select Specific Keywords or Phrases

Advertisers’ ads will only appear in related searches. Advertisers do not have the option of selecting specific keywords or phrases, so they can’t bid on a competitor’s branded terms or show up for keywords unrelated to their industry.

Facebook’s main objective of this test is to determine if people and businesses benefit from these ads before making the ultimate decision of whether to expand it to other industries.

Facebook’s foray into search ads shows that it is attempting to close the gap with Google in regards to the global ad market. Currently, Facebook has a 19.5% share of the market compared to Google’s 31.5%. While still in its infancy, Facebook’s search ads show an aggressive move to compete with Google’s successful ads platform.  We will closely monitor this beta testing period to see how Facebook plans to expand this re-launched venture, all while remaining relevant to its users and consumers.