Facebook has started testing search ads, as part of a new strategy to grow its advertising propeties. Digital Minute takes a closer look.

The social network is testing a new search advertising concept with a small number of advertisers in the automotive, ecommerce and retail sectors in the US and Canada. The concept involves inserting news feed ads into the search function of the site, although Facebook is being quiet on the specific details of how the model works.

Facebook last trialled search ads in 2012, although the idea was shelved just a year later, and is looking for new advertising revenue sources as it faces competition from Google, Amazon and its other social media brand, Instagram.

Read more: Can Facebook get it right on search advertising?

Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Jonathan and on the first Digital Minute of 2019, we’re looking into the reports that Facebook is looking to enter the search advertising market.

It looks like Facebook is trying again with search advertising, with reports emerging in December that the social network was testing some concepts with a small set of advertisers in the US and Canada.

The ads are repurposed news feed ads that feature a headline, image, ad copy text and a link, although the actual design of the ads is being kept under wraps by Facebook. They do however point out that when sponsored ads appear in a search, they are clearly marked to the user.

At the moment, the feature is being tested by a small number of advertisers in the automotive, ecommerce and retail industries, and Facebook will be hoping that this trial is more successful than its attempts to do something similar in 2012. That experiment closed down the following year.

The development is an important one for Facebook, as it looks to reverse its sliding advertising revenue and fight back against competition from Google, Instagram and Amazon. We’ve explained this in more detail over on the blog.

Thanks for watching, I’m Jonathan Brown, and that was your Digital Minute.

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