Though Facebook’s Groups primarily exist as a way for users to discuss, plan, and collaborate, spammers have long recognized the advertising opportunities the feature presents. You’d be hard-pressed to find a popular Group that isn’t plastered with posts advertising the latest fad to make 10 pounds “disappear overnight”, or an “amazing job opportunity” where you can make a thousand dollars a day from home. Now, Facebook is taking the advertising potential of Groups into its own hands.
Facebook recently began testing the addition of ads, similar to the ones you see in your News Feed, in Groups based in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. Ads featured in Groups will target the Group topic, as well as the Facebook-determined “identity” of the individual Group members.
Groups has one billion monthly users so the ad space this move opens up is significant, especially considering that Facebook News Feeds will reach maximum ad load next year. While Facebook’s four million advertisers can definitely expect to benefit from the increase in ad openings and the chance to better target their audiences’ specific interests, users might not appreciate yet another part of the Facebook experience that may be vulnerable to ad overload.