Facebook and Google: A war of two giants
Ever since Facebook’s IPO earlier this year, there‘s been a pretty obvious and significant increase in the amount of Facebook advertising opportunities. There has also been somewhat of a cold war brewing between Facebook and Google for a while, with many comparisons being made between their offerings, especially between Facebook and Google’s social platform Google+.
Speculation surrounding Facebook search has also been rife for a while now, especially since it was reported by Businessweek back in March this year that Facebook had employed about two-dozen engineers led by a former Google engineer, Lars Rasmussen, to work on improving its own search function.
And now it seems that Facebook is fighting even harder to move further into the search giant’s domain, having launched its very own PPC search advertising option, ‘Sponsored Results’.
With Sponsored Results, marketers will now be able to target users who are searching for specific pages, apps and places by showing their ad above the organic results, just the same as with traditional search engine PPC Google and Yahoo.
Here’s an example of what it will look like (taken from Facebook’s Developers Blog):
Interestingly, Facebook does allow users to hide the ad by clicking ‘x’, but it will also then prompt the user to offer a reason as to why they are closing it. It would seem likely that this will then be incorporated into Facebook’s algorithm to help it decide the position in which ads are displayed in results, just like with Google Adwords.
Further details about the specifics of the new Sponsored Results for developers, including details like maximum text length of an ad (70 characters) and how ads can be targeted, can be found here.
Pricing information is also included here, which states ‘Minimum bid price is $0.01 for targeting the same entity that you are promoting and $0.15 for targeting other entities on Facebook.’ This is interesting, because it means that advertisers will have to pay more per click to target an app, page or place that doesn’t belong to them, i.e. one that belongs to a competitor.
At present, Sponsored Results can only direct users to another page within Facebook and cannot direct to an external URL, however, with the rate that Facebook is trying to increase its advertising revenue, who knows whether this will always remain the case, or whether it aims to soon start allowing marketers to advertise to sites outside of Facebook.com?
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