Facebook recently launched “sponsored results” and there have been talks of “Facebook search ads” everywhere. Search Engine Land does a good job pointing out the critical and technical differences between Facebook’s “sponsored results” and Google Adword’s search ads. The question then follows: so who can actually benefit from this new advertising option?
Businesses that aim to aggressively increase brand awareness and have a well-defined target audience profile are good to go. Businesses with clear visions of the competition and consumer insights go much further. Unlike Google ads triggered by keywords, Facebook triggers the ads through the user profiles and their search queries. According to Techcrunch, with “sponsored results, advertisers” can steal traffic from their competitors. For example, if someone search “OkCupid” on Facebook, “Match.com” will come up as a “Sponsored ”result above OkCupid’s Page. Match.com also pops up as sponsored result if you happen to be the target audience and are searching “lady” or “girl”. For brands that know whom they want to target and what their target consumers are looking for might find great value in sponsored results.
However, Facebook users are more focused than Google searchers. After all, Facebook is heavily used as an engagement tool rather than a search engine. When someone searches a brand name on Facebook, he obviously knows what he’s looking for. Sponsored results might target at someone who is already much engaged with another brand or business in this case. Conversion rate would thus compromise.
Businesses with the ready-to-social consumer base can leverage sponsored results more effectively. Again, unlike Google ads, sponsored results only bring traffic to the apps, pages, or places on Facebook, but not external websites. So if you don’t have a Facebook presence already, or if your Facebook presence does not impact your business’ bottom line all that much, sponsored results might not be the optimal advertising option for you. If your business model is built on the concept of networking and online community llike Match.com or Zynga (both are the early adopters), sponsored results can very effectively maximize your social efforts. Online games or dating are apparently in this category. However, even having a user base that most likely stumble upon your business through social networks it doesn’t mean you will get found easily. But it definitely makes more sense for you to try.