There are more than one billion users on Facebook Groups every month, but someone new just got invited to the party: advertisers. In its testing stages in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada, the social media giant says they “will be evaluating the response before determining how we will move forward.”
The ads are similar to the ads already seen in users’ news feeds, but show up exclusively in Groups’ feeds on both the website and the mobile app. Ads are targeted to individuals based on the Group’s topic, along with identity-based targeting such as age, geographic location and interests.
There’s been much talk about Facebook’s ad load dilemma: the company says it will reach maximum ad load by mid-2017. This means they will need new streams of revenue to continue their long strong streak of steady growth. While it wouldn’t be a good idea for Facebook to inundate users’ feeds with ads, the pressure to create new revenue could very well be alleviated by introducing ads within Groups.
Facebook Groups have morphed from a way of showing support to causes you care about to functional communities. Groups range from Craigslist-like classifieds, community garden projects, and professional groups, to goal-setting support circles and celebrity fan clubs. With Facebook Groups, members have the opportunity to engage through comments and likes, share documents, poll teams for feedback, and coordinate with friends for events. Since Facebook Groups are so specific, they have huge potential for targeted ads to be lucrative.
The fine line: Facebook will have to find a way to make Group ads work while avoiding aggravating members with over-advertising and feeds saturated with irrelevant products and services. I do see the great potential for advertisers to target their perfect audience, so I’m pretty excited to see how it all pans out!