Facebook Are Testing Ads Inside Marketplace

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Not even a week after announcing that ads would be appearing inside Messenger, Facebook have given the ad treatment to another one of their arms - Marketplace. For the unfamiliar, Marketplace is Facebook's internal seller's market/Gumtree/Craigslist clone. It's been quietly chugging away for a while now, and it seems that Facebook have decided that it gets enough traffic to warrant some extra revenue.

At time of writing, the ads are only being tested in a limited capacity, and even for those who can see the ads, they're just being migrated over from other parts of the platform. Once the testing phase is over, barring incident, the plan is to sell advertising space specifically for Marketplace. The ads won't be dissimilar to the ads you see on News Feed in shape and appearance even then, but the thing to bear in mind is that people use Marketplace with shopping in mind, which theoretically should mean a better engagement rate.

Marketplace is still rocky territory. A lot of products are posted, millions every month, but there's little to no guarantee of quality or fair pricing. This is largely because Marketplace is very young, so there hasn't really been time to establish a trustworthy buyer/seller vetting system yet. With time, it should be easier to figure out which sellers are legit and looking further forward, eradicate untrustworthy sellers entirely.

That's no reason to hold back from advertising though, and in fact it might actually make Marketplace more viable even as it finds its feet. The mark of seller quality might not be there, but if shoppers can still count on targeted advertising linking them out to similar products on other sites, it's more of an incentive to stick around. Like or hate it, Facebook has some the best targeted advertising of any platform, and placing it somewhere which is a logical fit for it, rather than shoehorning it into places which get the most traffic (cough, Messenger, cough) is good business sense.

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