Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has begun rolling out ads to users in select countries using its Groups feature, in a move geared to combat an impending peak ad load in the News Feed.
CFO Dave Wehner recently commented that “The optimal ad load is really a mix of art and science. We also want to be thoughtful about making sure each person’s overall feed experience has the right balance of organic and ad content.”
With the News Feed increasingly clogged with ads, Facebook’s move to introduce ads on Groups pages makes a lot of sense. The rollout is progressing slowly in select countries so far, according to Business Insider:
The company confirmed that it was test delivering ads in the feature to select users across four countries, according to TechCrunch. Facebook said it was testing Groups ads on both mobile and desktop in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand, with plans to evaluate responses from users and advertisers before rolling it out more broadly.
But things could ramp up quickly if the efforts prove successful. The potential opportunity is huge, with over 1 billion Facebook members currently using the Groups feature, which allows collections of people to discuss and post images around specific topics — be they hobbies, cars, sports teams, and everything in between.
Some 450 million users have also been using Groups to buy and sell items for years, but the company is trying to move those actions to a new Marketplace area.
Users in all countries can expect ads to start appearing in Groups over the next six to twelve months, as the world’s largest social network continues to find new ways to monetize its massive platform.
Facebook shares fell $1.52 (-1.18%) to $127.53 in Thursday afternoon trading. Year-to-date, FB has gained 21.94%, versus a much smaller 4.32% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.