Facebook revealed that they are starting to test Search Ads, both in the primary search function and the Marketplace ecommerce section, on mobile. However, only selected advertisers in the ecommerce, automotive and retail industries are participating in the test, which is currently limited to Canada and the US only.
Those advertisers with access will be able to extend their existing News Feed ads to the new “Search” placement through the Ads Manager, similar to how they would select Facebook Audience Network or Instagram, after which their ads may appear in searches for terms related to their offerings e.g. automotive brands may appear in car-related searches.
As of yet, within the testing stage there is no option to target specific keywords or phrases to advertise against. Instead advertisers may appear in search terms related to their sector, however if successful and rolled out to more users it is likely this would change.
At this stage, advertisers in the test group aren’t paying for the search placements, and only static images with links and carousel ads with images are part of the test so far, video ads are not.
It is worth noting that all ads will feature a “Sponsored” tag, and are subject to the same transparency controls around “Why Am I Seeing This?”
It could be an exciting time for Facebook, and although Google may be dominating the search advertising industry, the search ads can now open a new potential path for revenue growth that will bring Facebook in direct competition with Google.