facebook exchange

Set up FBX to play nicely with others.

The veil has been lifted, and the newest display gold rush is officially out of beta. The Facebook Exchange (FBX) is now, publicly, the hot topic. The multiple FBX partners have been drumming up business and advertisers from all over are asking when they can gain access. So it’s important (especially for smaller advertisers) to consider their entire digital mix when integrating FBX.


Quick Primer on FBX

FBX is another real-time-bidding (RTB) marketplace. It is similar to others like Google’s Ad Exchange (AdX), Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange (RMX), and Rubicon Project. These exchanges aggregate available publisher inventory in an easy to access, and efficient, marketplace. FBX is simply a way for Facebook to more easily monetize the inventory that is already directly available from the company. If an advertiser is already using a retargeting vendor like AdRoll, or a Demand Side Platform (DSP) like MediaMath or Turn, adding FBX will provide campaigns with more demand-side leverage and frequency control.

Initial Positive Results

Performance on FBX has been described as great. So it’s not surprising that there are many advertisers seeking to test this new portion of the display landscape. In my opinion, however, this was to be expected. People spend a lot more time on Facebook than on other websites. And since the initial focus of using FBX has been retargeting, getting in front of a captive audience can only help. Looking at data from Alexa.com, I compared the “Time on Site” metric from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn:

Alexa data

As you can see, if people are spending more time on Facebook than anywhere else, it’s easy to understand how retargeting works well on FBX. If the object is to quickly find unconverted visitors and hit them with messaging, this is a great inventory source.

Things to Consider for Digital Media Mix Integration

If an advertiser is primarily focused on bottom of the funnel, and only has one display partner, it’s a no-brainer to include FBX. But if there are multiple display partners on a plan, this is where overlap and frequency control come into play. Combine the impressions from a direct publisher campaign with FBX, and the frequency of which someone sees an ad could go way up. On top of that, if there isn’t an ad server being used, then conversion attribution becomes an issue. Consider how FBX will impact the entire plan. This is especially important if you’re already running a campaign on the Facebook platform.

Moving Forward

FBX seems to be a great way to push retargeting efforts into hyper-drive. How the inventory works on more upper-funnel strategies, however, is TBD. Think about delivering the FBX impressions though an ad server if your plan has multiple display vendors. And proceed carefully if already using the direct Facebook platform to run a campaign. Monitor for overlap and frequency control, choose partners wisely, and you’ll be all set to survive the new gold rush.

Sean Nowlin, Sr. Display Media Buyer

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Sean Nowlin
Sean Nowlin has worked in the sales and marketing industry since 2000. Before joining 3Q Digital in February 2012, he spent three years running display campaigns for Progressive Insurance, a top-10 digital advertiser. Sean’s display expertise consists of managing premium publisher relationships, ad networks, Demand Side Platforms, ad verification, and Online Behavioral Advertising compliance. He has a B.A. in Marketing from Cleveland State University and an M.B.A from Weatherhead School of Management – Case Western Reserve University. Sean enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, loves technology, and is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan (Indians, Browns, and Cavs). Sean's insights on display have appeared on several well read outlets, including SearchEngineJournal.com, AdRoll.com, and Retargeter.com.