Facebook Is Testing New Ad Placements in Search

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The other week I was setting up a new campaign and noticed that Facebook added a new placement option to serve ads through their search bar:

Facebook SearchFacebook has been testing ads within the search since December for a small number of ad accounts in the retail and automotive industries as a test to see if search ads would be useful for marketers.

I guess it was useful, as they are now rolling out this placement to more accounts (if you don’t see this placement in your ads manager, give it a few weeks).

What is the search placement?

The Facebook search bar is located in the header of their website and mobile app:
search 2 blur

You do not need to enable the news feed placement to run ads in the search placement.

Ads will be shown within search and also on Facebook Marketplace:
search 3

Ads are a little shorter in size than news feed ads, and there is no space to enter a news feed link description. All ads will have the ‘sponsored’ tag like all Facebook ads.

search bar 4Targeting the search bar placement doesn’t come with any special features such as targeting by keywords, only the usual interest, behavior, and custom audiences.

You can use the following Facebook objectives to use this placement:

  • Traffic
  • Conversion
  • Product catalogue sales

How to use this placement

I think this new placement is great. More ad inventory will lower costs, and this new search placement will allow us to target users who are specifically seeking something.

When a user scrolls through their news feed, they are doing so because they are bored and want to be entertained, but when they are using the search bar they are usually after something.

It may be a video they watched before, or it could be an answer to a problem they have or a specific product.

This placement will allow you to place your business in front of the user in their time of need.

Using the current targeting features on Facebook, it’s going to be hard to show the right message as you’re unable to target by specific keywords.

The search placement was introduced in December 2018 and is still in its infancy stage. If it works well, then who knows – we may be able to target by keywords, which will be huge.

I don’t really use the Facebook search bar that often. When I need to find something, I usually turn to search engines or Amazon.

If Facebook can improve its search feature and get more of its users to give it a try, I think that it will be an extremely valuable placement for advertisers as it’s the only part of Facebook where users are searching for something specific.

If they can do this successfully, things will get interesting as they will be competing with Google and their search network.

For now, I would make the most of this placement if you have the opportunity to serve ads because it will be cheap, as not every account will have the option to serve ads within the search.

Your turn

Facebook ad inventory is growing shorter by the day as more advertisers jump on the platform, so anytime they test or introduce a new placement, I welcome it with open arms.

I can see this placement becoming a major channel for acquisition in the coming years if Facebook can allow us to target by keywords like we can on AdWords.

As for now, I would use this placement as much as possible. It offers a unique ad format that I’ll be wanting to test to see which type of copy works best.

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