The new search ads are a 'small test' that will help Facebook determine whether the ads are 'beneficial' for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it, says Zoheb Hajiyani, the social network's product manager.

With Facebook Inc.’s advertising growth slowing down, the social network is on a rapid push to find locations other than Facebook’s news feed where it can show ads to users. That helps explain why, for the first time in five years, it is allowing marketers to present ads within the Facebook’s main search bar and the search bar within Marketplace, which is Facebook’s peer-to-peer shopping section.

Facebook is testing the ads with two common ad formats that appear within the news feed: link ads, which typically feature a single image, text and a call-to-action button such as Shop Now, and carousel ads, which feature up to 10 images, text and a call-to-action button. For now, it is not testing video ads within search results.

The ads feature the same content as those that appear in the news feed, but a slightly different configuration as the social network aims to find an aesthetic that drives users to click. Like news feed ads, Facebook labels the ads with a “sponsored” tag under the advertiser’s name.

The new search ads are a “small test” that will help Facebook determine whether the ads are “beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it,” says Zoheb Hajiyani, the social network’s product manager. Only “select” advertisers within the U.S. and Canadian auto and e-commerce industries can participate in the test.

Eligible advertisers can take part in the test by selecting a “search” placement within Facebook’s Ads Manager tool; marketers can’t select specific keywords or phrases as the ads appear when Facebook’s algorithm deems them related to a user’s search terms.

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The ads represent a return to search ads for Facebook, which offered a format it called “sponsored results” in 2012 and 2013. However, those ads only allowed advertisers to link to another page or application within Facebook rather than the advertiser’s site or app. Facebook eliminated the format in 2013 as part of its effort to simplify its ad formats.

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