Facebook Dips Its Toe Into Search
No doubt about it, traditional Search ad spending still butters Google’s bread. Even though display-based Search seems like a prehistoric digital ad format these days, it’s still incredibly lucrative. eMarketer estimates US Search spending will grow by 22% in 2019, which even outpaces overall digital media’s forecasted growth of 19%.
All that budget flowing into Search must have caught the attention of Mark Zuckerberg and team. That’s probably why Facebook has quietly begun testing its own search ad product. During the beta a select group of advertisers can run ads in search results on Facebook’s main search bar and within Facebook Marketplace. These ads will appear in contextually relevant searches based on the advertisers’ targeting parameters.
All of this sounds promising for Facebook, but there’s one really important limitation to their offering. Unlike Google, and every other search portal on the planet, FB will not sell keywords to brands. This limitation is probably tied to the idea that Facebook isn’t inherently a marketplace to buy things the way Google and Amazon are. The decision not to auction keywords will definitely limit FB’s full search potential, but it’s probably the right product-first decision on their part.