How Facebook “Sponsored Results” Search Ads Aren’t Like AdWords At All

Search marketer ears likely perked up to hear that Facebook launched search advertising this week. But anyone who’s expecting it to be similar to AdWords or adCenter is going to be disappointed. Actually, it’s more akin to other forms of Facebook advertising, despite appearing in search results.

Consider these typical AdWords ads:

They appear above or to the right of search results. In contrast, the new Facebook Sponsored Results appear within the search box, as suggestions when you type:

Beyond placement, Facebook’s search ads can’t be targeted to keywords, as can Google’s ads, nor can they link to content outside of Facebook. The chart below summarizes some of the key differences:

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Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Facebook | Features: Analysis | Google: AdWords | Social Media Marketing | Top News


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  • maximizer

    It’s disappointing that you can’t target by keyword or target urls outside Facebook’s ecosystem.

  • Chris Leone

    Disappointing, yes. But not surprising. Also, Facebook’s search feature is awful.

  • Jasmine Aye

    I think it’s really wise, actually. Facebook is working harder than ever to be its own “search engine” and become something G isn’t. Even though they’ve partnered with Bing & bing is a horrible search engine, it’s known throughout every business that they should have a facebook page. If everyone already has a facebook page and it’s increasingly hard to get people away from FB when they are engaged in the system (CTRs for good ads that aren’t ecomm are below 0.5% from what I’ve seen) then why not tell people to go other places inside the FB-sphere? We’re probably a short step away from Marketplace for Business and a small etsy/ebay style store platform.

    Just a minor daydream: we might see optimisation for facebook pages within facebook search in addition to how to rank your fb page in G & B.

  • RyanMJones

    I like the approach. Advertisers don’t have to worry about doing keyword research. It’s simplified. It let’s them focus on the high level strategy and not worry about the low level.

  • oseymour

    The lion’s share of Google’s revenue comes from people selling a product. For right now, you have to get the user to your facebook page, then over to your site for conversion…..not optimal…..

  • itchimes

    I like the approach. Advertisers don’t have to worry about doing keyword
    research. It’s simplified. It let’s them focus on the high level
    strategy and not worry about the low level. Nice post!

  • Pat Grady

    G becoming more Social, FB getting Searchy… collision course, plotting intercept… we’ve got 3.614 years.

  • Emily Jones

    All about making money not good customer service.

  • Steven

    I’m not sure who I trust less, Google or Facebook.

  • Sanket Patel

    Face­book and Google are best plat­form for adver­tis­ing. You can build
    your image as well as brand aware­ness very cost-effectively to a
    highly tar­geted audi­ence by adver­tis­ing through Face­book, but after this comparison i can prefferd google adword because it is more productive as per user experience.

  • Niranjan VibhanDik

    This is very clear that nobody can compare Facebook’ sponsored results and Google’s Adwords Policy. Because users go through the different attitudes while on both things even if the sources are targeted for advertisement. When users see some sorta advertisement on facebook there is a lot uncertainty of click, But If somebody searching on google for some product . . It clears an idea that person is already there to buy and will get conversion. So the main criteria about facebook is, you have to convince people to buy something through facebook. And on other side you just have to wait for footfalls in your shop by google adwords.
    So I hope you will come up with new ideas there in upcoming time :)

  • SEO First

    Indeed its totally different. Facebook search advertising will disappoint advertisers as one cannot place targeted ads one can in Google.

  • Daniel Nielsen

    If you want the full effect you simply use both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Because they target the user in each their unique way!

  • Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

    I too am intrigued by the Facebook targeting criteria. I can imagine many instances where it could be superior to keyword matching.

    That does mean that one can replace the other, just that each has its strengths.

  • Amol Pomane

    For that Facebook is trying to have its own search engine

  • Reva Minkoff

    So true. Also the fact that facebook ads need to be refreshed far more regularly.

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