Facebook will once again try to channel some of Google’s search success with its new and improved Search Ad feature. However, the ads will only be seen by users in North America.
The new Search Ads will work the same way as conventional search engines. The user will type what they are looking for in the search bar and the platform will show the results. And similar to Google, the promoted results will be at the top of the list.
Facebook’s product manager, Zoheb Hajiyani revealed that this new feature is just a trial run, and only a select number of eCommerce, retail, and automotive companies in Canada and the US have access to it. He also explained that they are only conducting “a small test to place ads in Facebook search results.” The company will then assess the value of these ads before deciding whether it will be beneficial to expand it.
The new Search ads will be composed of a headline, an image, copy, and a link to external websites. While the format is more complicated than Google’s text ads, Hajiyani admitted that they’re still improving the feature’s design.
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) December 11, 2018
Facebook also hasn’t commented on whether the search triggers are based on phrases or branded or non-branded keywords. But the company will reportedly tag the ads with a “Sponsored” label. It will also provide users with the same controls and transparency settings that will determine what ads they will see.
Users won’t be able to opt out of these ads though. While they can “hide” ads they don’t want to see, much like how it’s done with News Feed advertisements, it won’t stop different ads from appearing on their wall later.
This is not Facebook’s first foray into monetizing the search feature. It previously launched a “sponsored results” feature in 2012 but shut down the project the following year when it was discovered that many advertisers were taking advantage of loopholes in the system.
If account holders take a shine to the new Search Ads, it could lead to a new and significant revenue stream for the company. It will also pit Facebook directly against Google’s paid-search ads.
At the moment, Facebook needs something to energize its growth. Most of the company’s profit comes from ads. Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild saw its profits peak at 59 percent in the third quarter of 2016 and 49 percent in 2017. However, this year’s revenue only grew by 33 percent.
[Featured image via Pixabay]