Programmatic Lunch

Facebook Testing Ads in Groups

Tim Maytom

facebook_groups
With the News Feed facing ad saturation, Facebook is exploring alternative places within its ecosystem to host ads, with its Groups feature the latest location to be tested.

The Groups feature boasts more than 1bn users, accessing the service for everything from local sporting teams to international communities.

Facebook is currently testing Groups ads on both mobile and desktop versions of the feature in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, with selected users seeing a notice upon accessing Groups notifying them of the trial.

The ads hosted in Groups look similar to News Feed ads, and are targeted using both standard identity-based targeting tools and Group topic to ensure they have the highest user engagement.

At the moment, ads in Groups is only a trial, with Facebook promising it will evaluation the response from both advertisers and consumers before deciding whether it will become a permanent fixture, but with maximum News Feed ad load expected to be hit by mid-2017, the company needs new revenue streams in order to continue the growth that it has seen for the past several years.

While the firm is already exploring avenues like an enterprise collaboration tool, mid-roll ads for Live video and sponsored content in Messenger, the most obvious solution is to open up more of its core app's real estate to traditional ad placements, and as one of its first features, Groups is a hugely appealing area to exploit.