So, it’s finally upon us. Facebook is testing ads in search results. Before you start packing supplies and head to your marketer apocalypse shelter, let us tell you something:
This isn’t as bad as you might think.
This was bound to happen, as search results are the last space on Facebook that doesn’t contain ads. And, the Zuc finally realized how Google works and said: “Hey, I can do that too.” Well, he thought he realized this back in 2012 too and failed miserably. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
How Will This Impact You?
As a marketer, this will be one more place to show your paid ads. What’s there not to like? However, we’re still pretty far from actually seeing this into action.
Still, here’s how it’s going to work. And, why you should care!
Why Now? What has changed?
Facebook Google-like search. Who would’ve thought? Everyone. Literally, everyone thought why Facebook isn’t using search to display ads yet.
So what made the Zuc notice this not-so-secret opportunity?
Nothing really, it’s the same old shove-ads-in-people’s-faces and hope they click them. In all reality, people are so fed up with promotions being blatantly spammed at them, they just ignore ads. This is why Facebook tries to mask ads like a normal post in the user feed in the first place.
Don’t get us wrong – it works, but for how much longer?
To make an educated guess, soon people will ignore them altogether. So, normally, Facebook is pushing this initiative to offer something fresh.
To be honest, it’s been for quite some time now that marketers prefer Instagram instead of Facebook. Statistics don’t lie – something’s not right with advertising on the platform. But, the Zuc isn’t ‘gonna let this slide. So, naturally, he came up with a way to show more ads to people.
We don’t really know if this is going to work or not. At this point, it’s only a matter of speculation because very little has been thrown our way about how it’s going to work. All we know is that Facebook is trying to stay in the race of paid search marketing. They are trying to offer something that can endanger the one on the throne – Google Ads.
This Isn’t the First Time Zuckerberg Tried This!
Facebook actually tried to place ads in the search results back in 2012. Needless to say, it didn’t work. Back then, the whole concept was not well-thought out. So, it backfired, making marketers eat each other alive in the search results.
It’s Still in a Testing Phase
We hope this time it’s going to be different. The current testing phase shows that Facebook has matured since the previous attempt.
Well, as Zoheb Hajiyani, who is a Facebook product manager, said: “We’re running a small test to place ads in Facebook search results, and we’ll be evaluating whether these ads are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it”.
Facebook plans for the initial test to be on a small scope. The test is currently available for two niche industries – automotive and retail. And, the ads only show in these two search intents. But, if the results are promising, it will become available to everyone.
So, if this works, be ready to open your wallets and place them ads in the Facebook search.
How Will It Work?
Nobody knows for sure. Anyone participating in the test phase can select “Search Results” as an option to display ads. The ad will display in the primary search of Facebook as well as the Marketplace search.
You Won’t Be Able to Target Keywords!
A search result ad without keyword targeting? Blasphemy!
Hold your horses, with the current way the test phase is, the feature needs no keyword targeting. Still, if the search advertising becomes a thing, keyword targeting would be used. Unless Zuckerberg personally selects the targets of the ads, we don’t see any other way.
But, on the other hand, you have the reason why the attempt back in 2012 didn’t work. Marketers used keywords related to their competitors and stole their ad placements. If this is going to use keywords in the future, it must be with an outstanding backup plan.
What’s Available at the Moment?
The testers can only select carousel and image ads. Also, the ads are tagged with a Sponsored tag to make them differ from other results. And, they only show in the U.S. and Canada.
What Can You Include in These Ads?
Search result ads will contain the same data as News Feed ads.
How this will look is another story. Facebook adamantly denies any requests to show an image of how it looks. As they put it, the design is still evolving.
Why You Should Care
Besides what happened back in 2012, this new attempt looks quite promising. Back then, it was a desperate effort to get more ad revenue. And, brands prayed on it, targeting searches that were specific for their competition. But, Facebook isn’t going to allow this, at least not for now.
Enough about why Facebook does this. They want to make more money (duh.)
Here’s the answer to the question you as marketers want to be answered:
Why should I care?
This enables advertisers to grab people much further down the conversion funnel
Piqued your interest?
The existing ad placements usually pick up people at the very top of the funnel. But, search results enable targeting people that already have decided to buy something.
Not all Is as Promising as It Seems!
You must understand that not everything’s great for Facebook at the moment. Following the scandal of 2017 (the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fiasco), people don’t look at Facebook the same way they used to.
Well, it’s not like people weren’t aware the platform had a lot of data on them – they chose to ignore it.
But, when the scandal revealed that Facebook was giving data to Cambridge Analytica (illegally we might add), nobody liked it.
So now, this new feature means that the Zuc will collect even more user behavior data. Just the thought of this happening might send shivers down people’s backs.
At the end of the day, how this will play out remains to be seen.
It will be very interesting to see if Facebook is finally going to make this work or will it fail as it did 6 years ago.
Still, this social media platform is probably the only one that can compete with the giant Google. This has the potential to shake Google’s current monopoly on the search market.
Sadly, the way Facebook works at the moment, most searches are related to people names.
But, at the end of the day, everybody is used to use Google for, well, everything. So, we predict that this is the break Facebook has been expecting to make search ads work.