Facebook’s purchase of video supply-side platform (SSP) LiveRail for $500 million underpins its deeper foray into video advertising and positions the social network as a major force in premium publisher monetization.
While some experts argue the purchase is a direct response to Google’s recent launch of its programmatic video marketplace Google Partner Select, the sum of Facebook’s recent moves – including expanding its targeting mechanisms via the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) – indicates a greater strategy.
“Very quietly, Facebook has developed all these hooks into all these publishers, whether it was through Facebook comments or Facebook Connect, [but they haven’t really] marketed it as being this massive publisher network,” said Brian Shin, founder and CEO of online video company Visible Measures.
“LiveRail, as well as [Facebook-owned ad server] Atlas, really plugged a hole where Facebook was being embedded inside Web pages, primarily, and not so much mobile apps and things like that," he added, " LiveRail and Atlas combined… [will create improvements] to ad flow.”
Facebook’s technologies, in aggregate, give it access to what sources describe as one of the most robust video ad-serving technologies on the market as well as the ability to extend brand spend beyond Facebook’s walled garden. Facebook can accomplish this via premium publisher networks in the LiveRail marketplace. Adding Facebook audience data could also make these video buys much richer and more targeted.
"LiveRail is Facebook's supply side platform for ads off of Facebook -- Twitter has MoPub and now Facebook has LiveRail," as Jason Stein, founder and president of social media agency Laundry Service described it. "If you're placing a video ad on Facebook, you can simply extend this through FAN… whereas with a Facebook photo or link post, you'd need a different creative asset."