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Social Media Trends: Is Facebook Taking Over The Digital Ad Space? Exhibit A

27th February 2017 | Ben Lott

Over the past few months the media team here at eight&four have been seeing a change in how Facebook plan to expand their ad reach. While the prediction is that Facebook will reach maximum news feed ad saturation by mid 2017, there’s no need for advertisers to panic as several new ad placements will be launching throughout the platform over the coming months.

This week we’ll be discussing several trends we’ve been reading about, how Facebook are looking to implement each of them in order to create new ad spaces and how as advertisers we can best use them to reach our audiences with engaging, high quality content.

Exhibit A: Facebook Ads in Groups

Many in the industry have said that if Facebook was to introduce in-group advertising it would be perhaps the biggest shakeup since ads were first introduced into user’s news feeds. Sounds exciting!

These ads have been proposed for both mobile and desktop traffic and will look the same as news feed ads. The crucial difference is that advertisers will be able to target these ads based on a particular group topic in addition to the existing identity-based targeting we’re already familiar with. By allowing targeting of specific groups and group topics, advertisers will be able to reach people with much higher levels of intent.

For an example of the increased intent in-group advertising can offer, compare a user who simply likes Chelsea Football Club’s official page compared to a user who regularly participates in a group created for diehard Chelsea supporters. The second user is much more likely to be responsive to ads for tickets, merchandise and other products related to the club. Group targeting will allow advertisers to reach these users at the exact moment they’re discussing the interest that’s brought them together.

With Facebook groups boasting more than 1 billion active users it could be argued that this is just a move by Facebook to preserve its revenue growth but with the vast targeting opportunities afforded by this development it certainly makes sense to open up these audiences to advertisers.

One concern we have here at eight&four is whether or not this is a risky move for Facebook’s advertising strategy. While users may resent one of their favourite features suddenly being interrupted by ads, it’s also likely to help the overall Facebook user experience by ensuring the most relevant ads possible are being shown.

While it’s difficult to predict exactly how in-group ads will be received, once they’re fully available to advertisers we’ll be closely monitoring them here at eight&four to find the best ways we can use them for our clients and the audiences they want to reach.

Stay tuned for the next post in our series exploring how Facebook could be taking over the digital ad space!

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