Facebook Tests Ads On Marketplace

Looking for additional revenue streams, Facebook has begun testing ads in Marketplace.

“We are starting a small test that shows ads to a percentage of people using Marketplace in the U.S. and will evaluate the response before determining how we move forward,” Michelle Bonner Techel, a product marketing manager at Facebook, stated.

Around the country, a small sample of mobile users can expect to start seeing ads in their Marketplace product feeds, according to a company spokesman.

Although Facebook isn’t describing the ads as “native,” they do bear a strong resemblance to the product listings that users scroll through. To avoid misleading consumers, however, the units will feature the advertisers’ name and a “sponsored” stamp.

Over time, Facebook plans to iterate the ads based on user behavior. During this test period, the company has no plans to charge advertisers whose products are featured in Marketplace.  

Facebook debuted Marketplace last fall as a platform for people to discover, buy and sell products with other Facebook users in their geographically nearby.

The company is not saying how many people use Marketplace, but in May, more than 18 million products were shared on the platform.

Unlike other platforms, Facebook has declined to take a share of transaction costs in Marketplace.

In the past, Facebook has struggled to get similar efforts off the ground. Back in 2007, it launched another service named Marketplace, which it shelved a few years later. Since then, the social giant has evolved into something of a major ecommerce hub.

With people’s participation, Marketplace could spell serious competition for services like eBay and Craigslist.

While Facebook continues to pursue fresh revenue opportunities, the tech titan is healthier than most of its competition. During the fist quarter, the social giant reported earnings per share of $1.04 on revenue of about $8 billion.

Mobile ad revenue represented about 85% of all ad revenue for the first quarter -- up from approximately 82% of all quarterly ad revenue, year-over-year.

Year-over-year, Facebook saw average daily active users (DAUs) grow 18% to 1.28 billion in March. Monthly active users (MAUs) increased 17% to 1.94 billion, year-over-year. 

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