Now that the historic IPO is in the books, Facebook has been extremely busy trying to find ways to better monetize the platform and justify its value to the shareholders who would probably like to see a much higher stock price. As the company’s bread and butter, advertising has been the primary focus. It looks like Facebook is back at it again with a potential new ad product that can increase visibility for marketers and in the process, generate more revenue for the social network.
The Entry to Search Marketing
According to representative of the company, Facebook is currently testing a new advertising format it is calling Sponsored Results. The new product would see sponsored content appearing alongside the site’s organic results. However, rather than being displayed on the entire results page, these ads will only appear in the typeahead, accompanied by a small “Sponsored” label. It is pretty similar to Google Adwords, yet at the same time, very different. For example, instead of being driven by keywords, Sponsored Results displays ads when a user performs a search for a specific page, app or place. This new format will reportedly be limited to content within the platform, but considering that site has nearly a billion users, that doesn’t mean its potential is limited.
While bringing ads to the search bar may not impact Facebook’s position in the competitive search market, it could help the company in its goal of opening another stream of revenue. Chances are, Sponsored Results will appeal to marketers who sell apps, games, and other products directly through the internet. The main issues with Facebook advertising up until this point have been timing and urgency. Sure, the new shoes you are marketing may be comfortable and affordable, but are you really making an impact when users are busy posting status updates and chatting with friends? With Sponsored Results, you can catch them when their interest is at its highest – when they are actively looking for something.
The new format will be useless when it comes to traditional keywords. For instance, a user will not see an ad if they enter something like “tasty snacks” into the search box on Facebook. On the bright side, Sponsored Results will offer the rich targeting capabilities Facebook Ads are known for. This means advertisers can target users based on location, as well as the topics they may be searching for. It is another way for brands to reach their audience, drive traffic, and generate the conversions the social site has the potential to deliver.
There has been no word on when Sponsored Results will come out of testing and become available to Facebook’s entire marketing community. If the format does go live, it could produce a nice flow of cash for the company and actually help improve its value on the stock market.