Facebook’s search box could become home to a new form of advertising known as Sponsored Results.
The ads would appear alongside Facebook's organic results when users conduct searches for specific pages or places (rather than keywords, ala Google AdWords) on the social network. No word yet on if or when the ads will launch to a larger audience.
Testing began last week. Ads will be sold on a cost-per-click basis and will only appear in Facebook’s search typeahead, not on a search results page.
TechCrunch was first to report the Sponsored Results test. Facebook later confirmed its existence.
“We are currently testing a feature that surfaces sponsored results along with the organic results when people are looking for things on Facebook,” according to a Facebook spokesperson. “We try to show people apps and pages they'll be most interested in.”
Facebook post-IPO monetization push continues. If you need a recap of all the recent Facebook ad changes, Hollis Thomases offers a recap on ClickZ.
News of the new ads has some speculating whether this will hurt the relevance of Facebook’s search results (really?). Others have noted that Facebook search is more targeted toward finding specific people, places, or apps, whereas Google search is more about discovery.
What do you think of these new ads?