Agencies Upbeat on Tying Facebook to Cross-Channel Ads

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facebook displayFacebook has lately hinted at a more open approach to its ad platforms, and agencies are buoyant about the prospect of managing their Facebook buys alongside display, search, and other channels. But it's early days.

The Facebook Exchange is evidence of this open attitude, as is the porting of Facebook ad buys onto Zynga's owned and operated websites.

But when it comes to native Facebook ads, many marketers still tend to view those campaigns as a walled garden. We reached out to some top agency sources to weigh in on the question:

 "Given the closed nature of Facebook advertising, how do you make it work with other channels?"

Click below or scroll to read their responses.

Shane Atchison, CEO, Possible Worldwide

We've found that an investment in Facebook advertising is best spent when it’s been intelligently integrated within a brand’s broader digital marketing approach and not simply used as a low cost reach tactic. Before the first ad goes live, marketers need to have a clear vision, plus associated performance metrics, for how the ads should be supporting the brand’s overall strategic goals.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Facebook is more of a venue for people-watching rather than a traditional, consumption-focused marketplace. So while you should be able to get in front of the right people, it may not be when these folks are necessarily in any sort of purchase cycle.

In theory, the new Facebook Exchange platform will address this issue, by allowing marketers to bring consumer data from outside of Facebook – for instance, if a person was checking deals on a travel site – into the Facebook setting, thus allowing brands to more effectively zero in on the best prospects. The new Facebook Exchange platform is a perfect example of how CRMs have transitioned from a traditional relationship management system, with one-way communication and being very impersonal with a lack of true engagement, to a social CRM, where there is a conversation taking place between companies and customers, experiences are being shared and interaction is happening.

Jack Bamberger, President of Digital, North America, MEC

To date, it has been difficult to compare Facebook advertising to other channels in terms of direct response performance, but the introduction of Facebook Ad Exchange will begin to change the landscape. For the first time, advertisers can compare the performance of the social network with other ad exchange inventory and properly assess Facebook’s value.

Although the absence of IAB standard creative on Facebook prevents marketers from conducting a true apples-to-apples test, the ability to employ the same business rules and data strategies applied to other RTB inventory will provide a much stronger comparison than previously possible.

While there are data limitations, we work with our partners to tag and track every possible element within Facebook (e.g. applications) and integrate social data into attribution analyses to better assess the impact of social activities.

Limited impression tracking remains a challenge. But as Facebook continues to evolve, it may be necessary for the social network to increase flexibility in this area, in order to fuel the continued business growth so vital to the company’s future success.

Christian Juhl, President of West Region, Razorfish

Facebook is trying to change the formula of digital advertising. We have long worked with them to understand what types of data is available to integrate campaigns across multiple channels. We are currently one a few partners working on Facebook Exchange. Our partnership is providing further value to our advertisers as we seek to increase the value of fans and brand interaction.

What continues to be important is integrating content, brand, technology and strategy with a Facebook, or any, media buy. While the data we can overlay into the Facebook environment isn't as discreet as some other partners, with good strategy, content, and customer insight we are able to create well integrated experiences across all touch points.

Yolanda Lam, SVP, Digital Group Client Director, MediaVest

Facebook is a platform that enables our brands to communicate differently than other traditional means like display, TV, or search.  The focus on Facebook is social and connections and we set different key performance indicators for different channel experiences. At the center of  this is data & analytics.  While Facebook historically shares limited data outside of their own ecosystem, what they do share has improved over time.  The fact that they do not accept IAB standards is a message to the marketplace that this is not a platform to broadcast passive brand messages but rather, a living, breathing community that requires different planning principles that is well beyond paid media activation.

-By Zach Rodgers

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