Think BR: Seven steps to Facebook Exchange success

By: Erich Wasserman  Published: January 17, 2013

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Demand-side platforms (DSP’s) and Real-time budding (RTB) are responsible for accessing over 50 billion premium and programmatic display, video, and mobile ads a day to target audiences with the right ad to serve at the right price, in real-time.
Agencies and trading desks have enjoyed unprecedented success and are now ready to exploit arguably the most anticipated entrant into the market of programmatic buying and selling: Facebook.

Despite only being recently launched, Facebook Exchange (FBX) already has its fans and when you consider that it accounts for nearly 15% of all time spent online, it’s easy to see why. Although still in its infancy, FBX offers the ability to plan, execute, optimise and measure brand and direct-response campaigns alike.

For performance advertisers, the results have been phenomenal with average CPA improvements of 40%, in some cases reaching as high as 700%.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a seven-step plan to help ensure that your campaign fully exploits FBX to its full advantage.

Think big
One of FBX’s biggest selling points is its scale – nearly one billion users and counting. It is also responsible for 25% of US ad impressions, which is a lot of potential impressions that not all DSPs can handle. FBX only gives buyers the chance to bid on matched users, so if your DSP can’t handle the queries per second (QPS) and ability to match users, you could lose out.

To check if your DSP can handle such scale, find out how many daily FBX impressions your DSP sees and ask for the real-time data to prove it. There are big differences in the scale that different DSPs can absorb and that means big differences in FBX volumes.

Integrate to innovate
The best results will be achieved when you can work seamlessly across data, media and creative. A Facebook campaign is multi-faceted, and you need a DSP that will help integrate audience selection and targeting, creative generation and upload, campaign setup and management, and back-end reporting and analytics in a self-service environment that gives control to the user.

DSPs that don’t offer FBX on a self-service basis aren’t giving their users the chance to innovate and fully exploit the power of FBX.

Keep on track
Ensure effective ad server integration. FBX enables impression tracking and conversion reporting by both the DSP and most major ad servers. For many large advertisers, ad server integration is critical to connect the impact and performance of FBX to the rest of the media plan. Make sure that integration works cleanly – FBX discrepancies shouldn’t deviate from the ranges typically seen for other sources (i.e. a few percent). If they do, there’s a clear issue.

Start with retargeting. Re-engaging existing customers or site visitors is a great advertising tactic and FBX makes this possible on Facebook for the first time. Sheer scale and high user match rates are critical to make retargeting work on FBX. But it’s equally critical for a DSP to provide the tools and best practices to maximise retargeting effectiveness by optimising variables like recency, frequency, and bid price for different retargeting audiences.

If your DSP doesn’t have the scale to see every possible retargeting impression, and the tools to make the most of it once you see it, then you’re leaving ROI on the table.

Prospect to accumulate
Of course retargeting only applies to the relatively small group of consumers exhibiting intent to buy. To really get the most from FBX, marketers must bring new customers into the conversation and grow their audience through prospecting.

So how does it work without a clear signal of intent? Effective prospecting on the "open exchange" hinges on the ability to algorithmically separate the 0.01 percent of wheat from the 99.99 percent of chaff. Effective prospecting isn’t only about serving the right ads to the right users at the right times, but at the right price to hit a CPA or ROI goal.

Retargeting is relatively easy; effective prospecting (on FBX and everywhere else) tends to be what separates DSPs more than anything else, so be sure to also evaluate your DSP partner on this metric.

Does your DSP measure up?
The Holy Grail of ROI; measurement. One of the most powerful aspects of digital media is the ability to express marketing results in the precise metrics that matter most to a given advertiser.

Make sure the DSP you choose can measure and optimise to what your buyer cares about. That may include a lift in brand awareness, increased site traffic, CPA, revenue per order, ROI, or even offline transactions. Moreover, ensure your DSP can quantify FBX’s impact with other channels, both online and offline.

Knowledge is power
Finally don’t underestimate the importance of knowledge. With each day, the digital landscape changes, and you need to pick a proven and trusted team with a finger on the pulse to stay ahead of the curve.

FBX will undoubtedly evolve to expand the possibilities open to marketers, so make sure that your DSP has a knowledgeable and responsive team dedicated to your business. The best companies provide ongoing training and expert guidance, and are willing to go the extra mile to innovate new-to-market solutions specific to every client’s needs.

Facebook’s entry into the RTB revolution helps buyers realise the full potential of programmatic buying across the media landscape. Perhaps the most significant aspect of FBX is that it opens the door to a complete view of the customer journey across paid, owned, and earned media. In turn, that view empowers buyers to globally manage how a brand reaches its audiences anywhere, in any context.

The best DSPs deliver on that promise by letting buyers create integrated and relevant marketing strategies from upper-funnel brand awareness to lower-funnel ROI that span all digital touchpoints: display, video, mobile, and (finally) social. Make sure you’re working with a DSP that fits all your needs if you are looking to achieve FBX success