From Jonathan Katz
Facebook has decided to test Search Ads again, offering another area of exposure and engagement for advertisers.
What Are Facebook Search Ads?
Facebook Search Ads feature a headline, image, copy text and a link in either the image or carousel ad formats Facebook already offers. Facebook Search Ads include a “Sponsored” tag and populate in a user’s search results page on the social media site.
Users can hide an individual search ad through the “Why Am I Seeing This?” drop-down option, but this action won’t limit other ads from popping up in later search results.
Who Can Implement Facebook Search Ads and Where?
Facebook Search Ads are available for testing as of mid-December 2018 by select advertisers in the automotive, retail and ecommerce industries. These ads are only available to users in the U.S. or Canada only at this time.
Facebook Search Ads are only available on mobile and are currently being tested on Android, though Facebook states they will become available on iOS in the future.
Why Did Facebook Introduce Search Ads?
Facebook’s share of the global ad market is trailing behind Google at 19.5% compared to Google’s 31.5%. In direct competition with Google Ads, Facebook Search Ads allow advertisers to reproduce their News Feed Ads for search results pages with the help of Facebook Ads Manager.
Originally introduced in 2012 and then stopped in 2013, Facebook Search Ads have been reintroduced to generate additional revenue for a brand that has seen slowed growth. Previously, Facebook Search Ads allowed brands to place search ads ahead of competitors’ results. TechCrunch notes that when searching for OkCupid on Facebook in 2012, the first result was a sponsored ad for Match.com. This time around Facebook won’t allow advertisers to bid on trademarked keywords that aren’t their own.
Facebook is using their beta test period to determine the success of the ad format before expanding to more industries and countries.