Facebook Begins Testing Search Ads, Directly Competing With Google

Istanbul, Turkey - September 18, 2015: Apple Iphone 6 screen with social media applications of Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Periscope while a male finger is about to touch on Facebook app.

Facebook will position itself in direct competition with Google’s advertising offering, as it begins testing search ads in its search results and marketplace.

The move, which echoes Facebook’s ‘sponsored results’ trial in 2012, will mean e-commerce, retail and automotive advertisers in the US and Canada can advertise to mobile users on Facebook’s search results page.

Given the nature of the testing, the companies will not be paying for the advertisements.

Speaking on the test, M&C Saatchi Performance senior biddable manager Jonathan Yantz said: “Users are already used to seeing ads across Facebook at this point, so it is unlikely to be jarring to see them present in search or Marketplace.

“In fact, users who are on the Marketplace pages are already in a shopping mindset, so ads – especially those that are e-commerce – or product-focused – could actually be a boon and, overall, a good feature for the platform to explore.”

According to Adweek, the format of the ads is similar to mobile news feed ads, using the same headline, image and text format, however, labelled with the “sponsored tag”.

Yantz added: “People are likely to use Facebook search in a different way than they use Google.

“They are searching Facebook for friends, events, pages and apps, so it is important that the ad opportunities align.

“These ads will make the most sense for discovery of brands (new brands, repositioning, new movies, etc.), promoted events or promoted apps, aligning them with the kind of searches users intend to perform.”

The testing is rolling out in the US and Canada only for the meantime, Facebook has not yet announced plans to introduce the ads to the Australian market.

B&T has contacted Facebook for comment.

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