‘No Keywords’: Media Buyers Test Facebook’s Search Ad Product

Facebook is allowing more advertisers to buy search ads, moving deeper into the search market dominated by Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

The development, first reported by MarketingLand, is a further deployment of a test that Facebook started late last year. Some advertisers can now choose to serve ads in search results with the main Facebook search bar and in the Facebook Marketplace. Two buyers with access said these ads may be in the same targeting group as other News Feed ads. But it is not possible to bid for specific search words, unlike buyers on Google and Amazon.

“We continue to test the placement of ads in Facebook search results and assess whether these ads are beneficial to people and businesses before deciding to deploy them more widely,” said Jason Rudin, product manager at Facebook, in an e-mailed statement to Digiday.

For Facebook, search ads are another way to make advertising money by ranking in search, not just social media. This is all the more important as Amazon’s ad revenue continues to grow and Google continues to dominate the search market. Indeed, Facebook has explored more intention-based behaviors on its platforms, such as shopping on Instagram and Facebook Marketplace.

Ad buyers have said search ads are a welcome addition to Facebook’s advertising ecosystem as traditional newsfeed ads become more competitive and therefore more expensive. Facebook advertisers have invested more in the Stories format, especially Instagram Stories, over the past year due to increased usage and cheaper prices. Search ads could be the next place to find cheap targeted ads on Facebook’s massive user base.

“When there are more competitors on the platform, it’s good to open up those other pockets of inventory. From a buying perspective, where we could have some really performance driven goals knowing that there is an opportunity for the targeting overlay and if that person searches Facebook, that’s great, ”he said. said Kieley Taylor, Global Head of Social Media at GroupM.

But Taylor said she wouldn’t necessarily advise her team to move ad dollars from other search portals like Google and Amazon to Facebook’s search ads – just yet. Unlike Google and Amazon, Facebook doesn’t have the same reputation for intent to buy, and the details behind current placements are unclear.

“Someone’s intention in searching on Facebook is very different from searching on Amazon or Bing. I’m trying to advise the team to think about what we should buy rather than what we can buy, not just because it’s new surface. We should see where we’re getting the efficiency, ”Taylor said.

The effectiveness of Facebook search ads is unclear. Unlike Google, shoppers can’t optimize a Facebook user’s position in their customer journey or understand what share of voice the customer has for a particular term.

“I expected to add keywords based on our competitors who are more established in the market just to let landscapers know about our new brand,” said Steve Johns, digital marketing consultant at Door4, who recently accessed to functionality.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that advertisers do not select specific keywords or phrases and added that these ads may appear in search terms with commercial intent, such as those related to e-commerce, to retail and automotive sales.

These search ads are similar to News Feed ads, with a headline, image, and copy text. But it is not known exactly where the search ads appear on the mobile or desktop screen. It’s quite different from Google, where search ads are the first result.

“The location itself may or may not appear above organic search results. The ads are apparently somewhere indefinite, ”Taylor said.

Johns said he had “mixed results” on his first initial £ 50 ($ 61) test. The test had a 2% click-through rate and a few conversions at double the cost per acquisition of its current campaigns, Johns said. He said he plans to test the placement again in a few months.

Going forward, Johns said the effectiveness of Facebook’s search ads could provide valuable information for Facebook campaigns.

“It would be nice to create personalized audiences of people who clicked on our ad through Facebook search placement, but that option doesn’t appear to be there yet,” Johns said.