Sponsored Results: Are Facebook’s PPC Ads Going to Work?

August 29, 2012

Ever since Facebook’s IPO, the technology and business communities alike have been speculating what Facebook would do to better monetize its user base and justify its exorbitant valuation. In particular, online marketers have been pleading for a better way to track the return in investment, much like Google has done with Adwords and Adsense.

It appears Facebook has made its latest attempt to answer these questions. Facebook has announced a soft launch of Sponsored Results – their new pay per click ads displayed in the Facebook search bar.

How It Works

Sponsored Results lets brands buy ads in search results creating more awareness and traffic to your brand and page.
1. Spread your message by placing yourself on the top of Facebook’s search feature
2. You can target your audience by placing your ad next to related apps and pages.
3. Customize your link destination to specific pages

Companies don’t have the ability to drive traffic offsite but you will be able to drive it to specific pages. Companies who take advantage of Sponsored Results can target Facebook users who are searching for specific pages.
These PPC results are clearly marked “sponsored” at the top of the search so that users are not mislead.

Appearing at the top of search results allows advertisers to have the opportunity to steal traffic from their competitors. A good example is if Match.com created a sponsored ad on Facebook. If a user is searching for OkCupid the Match.com will show up at the top as a sponsored ad.
While users can hide the ad they must indicate as to why they are doing so. Some of the options include: “repetitive”, “misleading”, “uninteresting” and “offensive”.
The word is spreading that soon companies will be able to buy Sponsored Results through the API tool or Power Editor Facebook has.

Is it Effective?

Well we really don’t know. I’m not sure it will be any serious competition to something like Google Adwords because those who would be searching for something on Facebook are probably searching for a company they’re already familiar with. But the main point is that Facebook is trying. The marketers cried out and they answered. I’m sure as time goes by they’ll refine the idea and that’s what I’m waiting to see. The refined Sponsored Results.

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