Facebook Offers New Option to Boost Marketplace Posts and Marketplace Ads for Businesses
Facebook now allows users to boost Facebook Marketplace listings and lets businesses advertise within Marketplace, as part of its first push to monetize the option. Facebook initially introduced its Marketplace tab at the end of 2016, with the goal of tapping into the 450 million people who visit buy and sell groups each month. The usage of Marketplace has continued to grow since then, and now Facebook is confident that this will be another tool for monetization. It also has the potential to become a significant part of its wider revenue generation effort.
Boosting Marketplace Posts
Facebook has started a test in the United States that will enable Marketplace posters to get more exposure for their listed items by putting ad budget behind them. The boosted items will appear with a small ‘Sponsored’ annotation. Facebook has tried to simplify the boosting process by limiting the options available. The only necessary steps will be setting an ad budget and how long the ad will run. There won’t be any additional targeting options beyond being shown to age 18+ users in nearby zip codes.
This has its positive and negative sides to it. Simplifying the process can potentially get more everyday people spending a few dollars to generate extra exposure for their listings, but the inability to target them could also limit effectiveness. Facebook says it will auto-optimize boosted items, which means when people click on an ad Facebook will show it to similar users. The primary usage Facebook has emphasized is people who want to sell items fast.
In this case, the lack of targeting can be beneficial. If someone is leaving town and wants to move their belongings swiftly, they’ll probably be selling them for a cheap price and even if someone wasn’t interested in purchasing a particular item, they might buy it anyway if the price is right.
It makes sense for Facebook to offer boosting in this way because it’s easy, cheap, and will help the platform generate more money. It’s unlikely that it will be a big money maker, but it’s worth doing because it can become more relevant over time.
Marketplace Ads for Businesses
In addition to this, Facebook will also allow brands to run product ads within Marketplace listings. The ads will appear between regular listings, like News Feed ads, and will be available through your regular Facebook ads process.
If Automatic Placements is selected, ads will appear across different placement options such as News Feed, Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network and now, Marketplace. Advertising on Facebook allows companies to reach a specific target audience wherever they’re spending time, which gives companies more opportunities to connect with individuals who are interested in what the company has to offer.
Facebook is gradually diversifying the options available within Marketplace by adding dedicated sections for cars, rental properties, and home services. All these options have allowed Facebook to add in business ads although it wasn’t as apparent as this new option.
This new expanded diversity can eventually lead to Marketplace becoming a much more significant discussion. We know that Facebook’s focus up until now has been to tap into those individuals using buy, swap and sell groups, but the gradual introduction of more product and ad options could grow into a full ecommerce platform, and create a way for Facebook to facilitate direct, on-platform buying and selling, without having to go through the regular payment channels and processes.
This past year, Facebook added a range of in-stream payment options that focused on peer-to-peer transfer, as opposed to traditional ecommerce transactions between people and businesses. Those processes benefit Marketplace users because you can easily transfer money between two users but facilitating consumer to business transactions comes with a lot more complication, and likely regulatory oversight from Facebook. That will become even more complex when transferring payments across borders, in different currencies.
Facebook may be able to somehow escape a lot of this by pushing such activity to Marketplace. Thinking long term, Facebook is also exploring how to use blockchain technology, possibly to facilitate a universal payment system, separate from regular transaction channels.
Given these combined developments, it won’t be shocking to see Facebook’s Marketplace become a much more significant option in the future, covering all kinds of transactions and purchase options, direct within Facebook. The platform still has a lot of work to do, but Marketplace has the potential to become The Social Network’s next big earner, and the next step in their efforts to assimilate the Internet.
Facebook will allow U.S. users to boost their Marketplace listings, while Marketplace ads are available to businesses in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It will give them the ability to run ads in Marketplace using the traffic, conversions, video views, product catalog and reach objectives.
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