Behaviorally-targeted FBX ads had formerly only been available
on the less conspicuous right-hand rail of Facebook pages, but now
advertisers and agencies can buy ads that will show up in users'
news feeds via demand-side platforms. (Just three of FBX's 15-plus
partners -- TellApart, MediaMath and Nanigans -- have the
capability as of today.)
The ads don't include social context from a user's friends,
since for privacy reasons FBX is fenced off from Facebook's user
data and targeted purely based on users' browsing activity off of
the social network.
They also won't show up on mobile devices just yet, but Facebook
hinted that's coming, too.
Facebook hasn't revealed how lucrative FBX has been since it
officially launched in September, but chief operating officer
Sheryl Sandberg did offer up some nuggets about advertiser adoption
during the company's most recent earnings call in January. She said
then that FBX was serving a billion impressions and 1,300
advertisers per day.
Including more coveted and visible ad real estate could be a
means of raising FBX prices, which have been relatively low. In the
latter half of 2012, the average CPM -- or cost-per-thousand
impressions -- on FBX was 82% lower than for traditional web
retargeting, according to the retargeting firm AdRoll.
"More demand will always make the auction more competitive,"
said Facebook's director of product marketing Brian Boland.
Mr. Boland also observed that FBX ads were being brought to
desktop news feeds first (ahead of mobile) because it's a natural
migration from the desktop right rail, but also because
advertisers' goal in real-time bidding is typically to send people
back to a desktop site they've recently visited.
Since they're targeted based on a user's web history, FBX ads
are in the domain of the online ad industry's self-regulatory
program, which stipulates that behaviorally-targeted ads should
disclose their origins and give users an opt-out from tracking.
Facebook began complying with the
program in February when it developed a way for users to see where
right-rail ads came from by clicking on a drop-down menu in the ad.
(It's not meeting the same bar as other publishers, however, since
the program's "AdChoices" icon isn't currently being delivered in
the ad creative itself.)
In the same vein as on the right rail, news feed FBX ads will
show the AdChoices icon when users click on a drop-down menu to
learn more about the post, Mr. Boland said.