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Facebook to Advertisers: Pick Content, Not Just Impressions

Facebook to Advertisers: Pick Content, Not Just Impressions

When Facebook’s acquisition of LiveRail was announced in July of 2014, TechCrunch wrote: “LiveRail could combine its targeting expertise with Facebook’s vast trove of user data to match movie trailers and other video ads with the right viewers.” This succinct summary of audience-based targeting gave little importance to the content in front of which these “trailers and other video ads” would be running.

That’s what’s most interesting about today’s blog post from Facebook announcing Anthology -- the recognition that the content of the advertising matters as much as the targeting and that at Facebook’s size, “native” definitely has scale. From the post:

Anthology is equal parts art and science, pairing publisher creativity with Facebook advertising insights to create custom campaigns that meet brands’ business goals. The program gathers a number of leading publishers to lend brands their creativity, storytelling expertise and video production know-how.

Rather than commoditizing, for their advertisers, whatever content happens to be on the platform, today’s twist is FB is acknowledging the special skills of the content companies that are their partners and that drive video consumption. These are companies like Tastemade, VICE and Vox with agency-style capabilities for producing quality sponsored or sponsorable video.

A byproduct of this approach is the mitigation of the challenges that arise when traditional ad serving approaches are applied to mobile video -- where a lot of this Facebook viewing takes place. Tastemade is a firm that knows the benefit of this approach firsthand. Here’s one gem from from their study with Nielsen that shows why Anthology is such good fit for them and is a nice nod to the “art” side of the equation.

The number of viewers, on average, who “will definitely” recommend an evaluated product to a peer increased 12 times with Tastemade’s branded content versus ads for that brand running as pre-rolls or TV spots.

More from the Nielsen/Tastemade study here. More on who the “cool kids” in Anthology are here (as Mashable put it). And a nod to VICE, cool and aggressive as they are, for being both on this list and amongst the early participants in Snapchat’s Discover.