Agency Perspectives on the Facebook Exchange

Agency trading desks are understandably eager to ramp up with the Facebook Exchange, which promises to broaden the reach and frequency of their programmatic buying efforts. But right after the FBX launch they weren’t equally able to use it — which has led to some hand wringing. WPP’s Xaxis had a direct seat, while Publicis’s Vivaki struggled because its preferred DSP partner, Google, was blocked.

But with FBX officially out of beta, does any of this DSP partner stuff really matter to agency trading desks and their clients? Last week Accuen’s Josh Jacobs shared the Omnicom point of view (AdExchanger Q&A). Here’s what three other huge trading desks have to say about how they’re leveraging the fledgling ad platform:

Interpublic Group: Mediabrands Audience Platform

MAP’s Brendan Moorcroft, CEO, says of FBX inventory, “We are able to leverage it exactly like we are able to leverage the other exchange platforms, i.e. Right Media and Adx. There is a ton of inventory; we are seeing really great growth coming to it.”

He said, “We expect it to mimic the rest of our ecosystem. It’s easier for us to manage it if it’s an extension of an existing partners capability.

WPP: Xaxis

WPP’s Xaxis trading desk is quick to note it’s the only holding company entity to be named a certified RTB partner, by virtue of its in-house bidding technology. We asked Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser if its “direct seat” on FBX would bring clear advantages over rival trading desks that work through DSPs like Turn, MediaMath, Triggit, or DataXu. He said being directly integrated with Facebook’s product team will provide greater insights into “what’s next” on FBX.

“Direct FBX access allows us to bid on our clients’ behalf without being subject to internal auctions, while providing attribution modeling and other analytics that allow us to calculate the true ROI of Facebook in relation to other digital and offline marketing channels,” he said.

Lesser added, “Our integration allows Xaxis to use the vast second- and third-party data we have in our proprietary data management platform, which connects FBX to the rest of our advertisers’ audience plans. In managing the FBX relationship directly we provide customized solutions and get results without being tied to the development plans of third-party DSPs.”

Publicis: Vivaki Audience on Demand

On the other end of the spectrum, Publicis’s Vivaki AOD trading desk was initially left out in the cold because of its reliance on Google’s Invite Media (since renamed DoubleClick Bid Manager). The DSP has been blocked by Facebook – presumably for competitive reasons.

Sean Kegelman, Vivaki’s EVP partnerships and ventures, tells us,  “We are able to leverage FBX as much as we need.  We work with several DSP partners and many of them have access to FBX inventory.”

Kegelman continues:

“Direct access to FBX would require technology to manage campaigns at scale – our approach to this is no different than how we approach the other inventory marketplaces (display, video, mobile, etc.).  We have no intent to develop our own bid management technology – we prefer instead to leverage the expertise and dedicated resources of technology partners in this space to provide us with that component.

However, we see the bid management piece as one component in our overall approach to programmatic media buying, and developing our own tools and approaches in conjunction with this is an important part of our strategy.  VivaKi has PMD status for Insights API and are in progress on the Ads APIs for Facebook, both critical pieces to enabling us to develop better tools and technology for managing FBX and the Facebook marketplace.

The importance of FBX to our overall strategy remains to be seen.  At one level it represents additional inventory into a market that already has way more supply than demand.  However, the overall importance of Facebook in particular, and social in general, is a big part of the overall mix of channels we have to reach, understand and measure our brands’ interactions with consumers.”

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