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31 Jul 2012

Search Ads on Facebook?

 

Facebook has always been one to open doors for businesses looking to gain general awareness. This time Facebook is making it easier than ever for companies to drive traffic to their fan pages and special offers within the social networking platform. Last week, Facebook began early testing of their new sponsored ads which users can access from the typeahead search bar at the top of the screen.
 
You already know that Facebook sells special targeted CPC and CPM ad space via sponsored ads that appear on the right hand side of the page. Now there will be additional ways for advertisers to drive traffic by opting to advertise in the typeahead space at the top of the page. Using the same search box that users use to find their friends, they can also search for specific business-related entities. For example, if a user is searching for the game “You Don’t Know Jack”, sponsored ads for other similar online games may now appear. If a user is searching for the name of a grocery store that offers healthy organic options, it’s likely that a sponsored ad for “Whole Food” or “Trader Joe’s” might appear as well. You should be using this as an opportunity to redirect targeted users to your widgets, special offer sites and more, all located within the Facebook walls.
 
The results for these kinds of searches will only appear in the typeahead space. You will not see additional display ads elsewhere on the page. Also, the ads can only redirect users to other pages within the Facebook site, so this is fairly self-contained. Ads are not based on keywords. Instead, ads can be targeted by using names of similar businesses and games through things like pages, apps, places and events. The best part for advertisers is that the other entity does not have to provide permission around that, so it’s all fair game.
 
In addition to targeting around the business names, you also have the option to utilize Facebook’s other targeted search criteria such as age, geo and various demographic options. This means that you could potentially reach out to only 25-34 year old women in New York City who are searching for organic grocery options. If they click on the “Whole Foods” ad mentioned above, hypothetically, they could be taken to a widget where they can sign up for the email newsletter, and the conversion process has begun. This specialized method targeting can benefit you and your business significantly because you can now fulfill immediate needs of a potential customer through social networking.
 
This is a huge development for Facebook because it is creating new appeal for direct marketers who have online sales posts, or want to send users to a new widget or offer. This generates a sense of urgency that Facebook was not able to offer previously with their passive display ad techniques. This makes it a very specific kind of search method that taps into the user’s sight when they’re actually in need of something, which is a new type of advertising for Facebook. Facebook has created its own unique platform for reaching potential customers, which could revolutionize the CPC realm as we know it.
 
Facebook has confirmed that these are just the early steps of testing, so only time will tell how they plan to proceed with this new type of search advertising. Feedback from users and advertisers will ultimately form the fate of this unique advertising venture. Regardless of the turnout, It is important to recognize the unique aspects that this type of CPC advertising has to offer, and I suspect that this development will be giving the other search giants a run for their money, in the most literal sense.