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Facebook is Putting up More Walls (and Reaching Beyond Them)

Facebook is Putting up More Walls  (and Reaching Beyond Them)

If you’ve used Facebook more than a couple times, it’s a smart bet that you’ve been retargeted there. For me, it was pens. I needed to find what kind of pen I wanted ordered, so I found it on the Staples website, sent the link to the office manager and went on with my life…


Those pens followed me around on Facebook for weeks. I’d log in and there they would be on the right column. It drove me batty as a user and as a marketer (because if I haven’t clicked on the pen ad in two weeks, maybe it’s time to stop showing it to me). This was all thanks to something known as Facebook Exchange or FBX – the ad exchange Facebook created to allow retargeting companies to show ads to their users.

FBX was a way for people already doing retargeting to easily include Facebook. Most Facebook ad units and placements need to be tied to a Facebook page, but since this retargeting was coming from any number of websites, FBX only made right-column desktop ads available to advertisers.

For some advertisers, they may have felt as if they were “doing Facebook ads” because their retargeting company used FBX, when in reality they were not tapping into the depth of features or targeting available in Facebook advertising.

At the end of May, Facebook started letting its FBX partners know that the service is going to be shut down. You can still use a Facebook retargeting pixel to remarket to people who have been checking out your website, but it’s no longer available to your retargeting company as inventory.

This taking back control of retargeting ads closes a gap in the wall Facebook has around its audience and its targeting… But that doesn’t mean Facebook isn’t interested in the rest of the web – far from it.

Expanding its reach

At the same time that Facebook started quietly letting people know about shutting down FBX, they also posted a little blog post about tracking and showing ads to non-Facebook users through Facebook’s Audience Network. That means that any person will now be tracked for interests and activities on any site that shows Facebook audience ads or uses the Facebook Like button. Considering the recent push Facebook has made with online publishers, nearly every blog, news site, or productivity-vacuum (looking at you, BuzzFeed) will be helping Facebook track user behavior on the web.

This is great news for digital marketers. Historically, display ads have been much like the billboard of the web – put it where you think your audience might be and hope they don’t ignore it. But by applying the insights Facebook gathers on its users to similar people on the web, you as a marketer will have more confidence in your ability to match your messaging with the right audience at every step. This won’t replace the work you do on social networks or PPC, but it will bring more focus (and in turn more effectiveness) to your display advertising game.

These two moves are opposite sides of the same coin. Facebook doesn’t want to sell its audience, it wants to sell its targeting of that audience. By seeking to understand its users, Facebook has created a powerful platform for us to reach people with timely, relevant messaging – and Digital Air Strike helps our customers take advantage of this every day.

What is changing at Facebook?

• Facebook Exchange is shutting down
• Facebook is tracking the actions of non-members on sites that use their services
• Facebook is displaying ads to non-members through Facebook’s Audience Network

What does this mean for my business?

• If you are using a retargeting company, ensure that you are using the Facebook pixel, not relying on FBX for those impressions
• Facebook Audience Network ads can reach far more people than before
• Facebook Audience Network display gives you more targeting options than other display networks
• This may mean that Facebook will open up more site-based targeting in its other ad products in the future

How Can Digital Air Strike Help?

• We can retarget your website visitors on Facebook the CORRECT way
• Talk to us about how Facebook’s Audience Network ads fit within your overall marketing strategy
• We can build a social advertising strategy that uses all the tools available to us to match the right messaging with consumers wherever they are in the purchase cycle

If you’re a current Digital Air Strike client – talk to your Client Advocate about Facebook Advertising options that are right for your business. If you are NOT a current Digital Air Strike client – call now – (855) 826-3113 – to talk to one of our awesome team members about leveraging Facebook advertising to drive qualified customers for your business!