Today’s post is by Nadja Yacker, media analyst at Ampush.
Each time we take stock of the Facebook Exchange’s (FBX) development since its launch last September, we find the needle has jumped forward exponentially.
Recently, Facebook held a live Q&A on FBX – even though just six months prior, the company held another Marketing Talk on this same subject. However, the distinctions in how FBX has developed and what we now know it can do made it feel like a completely different conversation.
For those still catching up, FBX is Facebook’s real-time ad exchange. Using Facebook’s massive audience of 1.1 billion, FBX is an exciting new tool that helps companies hone in further on only the most relevant users.
Standard Facebook ads target a user by who they are, what they like, their interests, and their friends’ interests. These types of ad campaigns are best run with a Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD).
FBX differs from this, drawing from 1st- and 3rd-party data outside Facebook, allowing an advertiser to leverage known search behavior and purchase intent. Through a demand side platform (DSP) like TriggIt, AppNexus, or AdRoll, a company can retarget ads to Facebook users that have actually visited its website and looked at a product. It allows the right ad to be put in front of the right consumer at just the right time.
Facebook ads are more useful for driving visibility and brand awareness, whereas FBX opens up a new realm of dynamic uses for direct-response objectives such as purchases, travel bookings, and form submissions.
Since FBX’s inception last September, Ampush has tracked data that marks FBX as a clear success. In FBX’s first months in 2012, Triggit reported ROIs that were two to four times higher than other platforms, while some advertisers saw up to 700 percent gains. FBX has the highest reach of any platform – about 32 percent of all online users are reachable by FBX every day.
AppNexus found that FBX had a click-to-conversion rate that was three times better than any other display platform. Tellapart found it to have a 15 percent higher ROI than any competing option.
After an extremely successful first six months, FBX began a trial with Desktop Link Page Post Ads in March. These new ads can be placed directly into a user’s News Feed, which was previously impossible. In May they moved this new offering into beta testing.
For now, these ads are linked page posts only available on desktop; photos and videos are not yet supported, and the mobile platform is presently off limits, but it seems inevitable that this will change.
Desktop Link Page Post Ads take the retargeting functions of FBX and allow social context to be incorporated if relevant. With the News Feed now in play for these ads, there is significantly more real estate for this offering. What’s more, specific offers and pages from a website can be promoted, not only the website itself.
It looks a little something like this:
These posts hold powerful new potential for an advertiser, who can now use Facebook to retarget a customer who has shown specific interest in the company, with a specific offer relevant to them, using social context if available, and placed directly in the News Feed.
It is all of Facebook’s most promising qualities in one bite! Early research reported a 197% increase in ROI from this offering, compared with FBX domain ads on the right-hand side. AdRoll reported engagement with News Feed ads to be 22 times higher than other display platforms. Triggit saw the conversion volume for a travel client double, and New Relic reported that News Feed was already the top retargeting channel across all display channels.
This is really all quite staggering! The original FBX domain ads, as it stood in March, represented an exciting new development, and the company is already beta testing a significant new improvement!
Any lingering suspicions of FBX should be set aside. Its success is proven and it is upgrading itself at a rapid rate.
Who knows what conversations we may be having about it in another six months’ time?
– Nadja Yacker is a media analyst at Ampush, a social technology company in San Francisco. Prior to working at Ampush, Nadja attended Carnegie Mellon University.