Facebook announces plans to test Marketplace ads

Facebook announces plans to test Marketplace ads

Last October, Facebook rolled out Marketplace, a new section in their mobile app for users to buy and sell their personal items.

Designed in a similar way to Craigslist, Gumtree, and other ‘classified’ advert websites, Facebook users are easily able to search for items based on their category, location, or price range, through any sales initiated through the Marketplace need to be made offline, and away from the platform.

However, despite the feature being intended for users to sell items to other users, the social network has announced that they’ll begin to test Facebook Marketplace ads. As Search Engine Land explains in their article, these will take on the form of dynamic ads (that brands use to retarget online shoppers), and will be slotted between organic listings in the Marketplace.

Although they’ll be similar in appearance to the platform’s square-shaped organic listings, a Facebook spokesperson has said that these ads will feature a “Sponsored” label, as well as the advertiser’s name, to distinguish them from organic listings.

The new Facebook Marketplace ads will also only be shown after users have scrolled back on the main Marketplace page, and won’t appear in results for category-specific searches.

At this stage, the small number of brands participating in the test won’t be charged for their adverts.

The TJM take: Facebook has not had the platform to go head-to-head with eBay, Amazon or Google when it comes to retail shopping. Marketplace is the perfect format for this, and with it being positioned in the middle of the UI, this is clearly a big focus of Facebook.

Facebook are close to reaching their limit of how many ads can be featured in a user’s Newsfeed; as a result, they’re very likely to be testing the Marketplace ads as a possible way to continue growth.

However, while most users are actively browsing the Facebook Marketplace with the intention to buy (and shouldn’t be surprised to be served ads while they’ there), one thing to bear in mind is that these users are likely to be looking for a cheaper deal than they could get from an authorised retailer. Thus, are they likely to click and make a purchase from a sponsored ad, which is more likely to have the item for sale at its full price?

Nonetheless, we wouldn’t bet against Facebook making a success of this!

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