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Facebook is undeniably one of the most influential companies on the internet; they dominate the social media landscape and cause web-wide rage with even the most minor of updates. Could they do more, though? They certainly seem to think so.
The social media companyʼs latest foray is encroaching ever so slightly into Googleʼs turf. Facebook is now offering a new form of search-based advertising. Much like Google and others, Facebook will allow paid ads, or “sponsored listings”, to be placed at the top of their search results.
The trial run is currently underway, with prominent companies like Disney and Zynga already showing up in the sponsored results section. Stylistically, the ads blend in fairly well with the organic search results. The only major distinguishing feature is the “Sponsored” header and a small X in the upper right corner, allowing users to close that ad.
For the duration of the trial, Facebook is allowing companies to buy sponsored ads on a pay-per-click system. These ads can then be targeted in a variety of ways. As of now, it seems likely that the payment system will change once the trial is over. The simple pay- per-click is great for enticing and for proof of concept, but it appears Facebook will be moving towards a more aggressive bidding model when the program goes live.
Even with this change, Google appears safe for the time being. Facebookʼs search tool only works internally. Everything the company does is still designed to keep users on Facebookʼs own little patch of the web. So once clicked, the new ads will only lead to the Facebook page of the sponsor, and not offsite. Moving people from your Facebook content to your landing pages still takes effort, so make sure youʼre Facebook page is looking good after the Timeline update.