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After a Long and Conspicuous Absence, Google Will Join the Facebook Exchange

DoubleClick Bid Manager is the Latest FBX Partner, and New Competition for the Buying Platforms Already There

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After being absent for more than a year, Google will finally join the Facebook Exchange, Google said in a blog post on Friday.

Google's DoubleClick Bid Manager -- formerly Invite Media -- will join existing FBX partners like AdRoll, Triggit, MediaMath, DataXu and Turn to let marketers deliver retargeted ads to Facebook users based on websites they've visited.

The companies have not publicly discussed Google's absence from FBX until now, but it had been widely noted all the same because of DoubleClick Bid Manager's strong market penetration. After the first FBX partners were announced in the summer of 2012, the fact that Google was missing from the list put Facebook at odds with Publicis Groupe, whose trading desk used Google's technology for much of its targeted ad-buying.

The issue was of such importance to Publicis that it prompted its chairman, Maurice Levy, to reach out to Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

But Google continued to be absent for well over a year, which proved to be a boon for the buying platforms that were already doing business on the Facebook Exchange. VivaKi President Kurt Unkel recently said that so-called demand side platforms like Turn and MediaMath had captured increased amounts of the roughly $125 million VivaKi spends on social advertising.

What finally resolved the impasse is unclear, but Google and Facebook are also working together in other areas. Facebook-owned ad server Atlas is a certified buyer on the Google Display Network and can use the Google AdWords API for search, for example.

"We are happy that Google is joining Facebook Exchange," a Facebook spokeswoman said. "We think that relevant ads, targeted to the right people, are good for people and businesses."

Meanwhile, Facebook appears to be hedging its bets in terms of its approach to retargeting. Earlier this week it introduced a new way for advertisers to retarget, separate from FBX and excluding the demand side platforms that are plugged into it. The new method is a layer of ad targeting that will be available to marketers who affix Facebook's tracking software to their websites and apps.

If more direct-response marketers use Facebook's new, native retargeting, the social network wouldn't have to share revenue with demand side platforms.

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