RIP FBX: Facebook Will Shut Down Its Desktop Retargeter In November

ArtThe long-rumored demise of Facebook’s desktop FBX will finally arrive.

The social media giant will shut off its desktop retargeting tool Nov. 1. Partners buying through the FBX API will have to use a different one, said Matt Idema, Facebook’s VP of product monetization. Current partners include AppNexus, Criteo, AdRoll and MediaMath, among others.

“FBX was built as a retargeting tool for desktop and, over the years, consumer use of Facebook has shifted more and more to mobile,” said Idema. Back in 2012, mobile contributed 41% to Facebook’s $1.6 billion ad business. In its latest earnings call, mobile was 82% of its $5.2 billion ad revenue.

As Facebook homed in on mobile, it introduced products like Dynamic Ads and native mobile ad formats. “These capabilities have worked really well for clients that want to do retargeting on the Facebook family of apps,” Idema said.

Eric Eichmann, CEO of retargeter Criteo and an FBX partner, noted that Criteo has seen the mobile migration as well.

“FBX has been a very successful platform for us and, over the past year, as we have seen consumers increasingly move to purchase and browse on mobile devices, Dynamic Ads have increased to become a more significant part of our mix,” he said.

With the mobile migration, Idema noted that FBX has seen “reduced investment from clients.”

Idema emphasized that retargeting – both on mobile and desktop – can be accomplished through the Dynamic Ads product or through Facebook’s CRM matching program, Custom Audiences, which are available through Facebook’s ad management interfaces.

Although FBX was a big deal when it came out in 2012, Facebook gradually downplayed its importance. Even as soon as a year after its introduction, COO Sheryl Sandberg said on an earnings call that FBX was “actually a very small part of our business.”

Despite insisting it had no plans to end FBX, Facebook downsized the program in February 2015, when it dropped more than half of its partners – a move many industry insiders interpreted as Facebook’s attempt to gradually move buyers onto its own technology – namely retargeting via Facebook’s built-in ad platform or via Facebook APIs.

But Facebook denies that it’s raising the walls of its garden.

“I would go back to the API being open,” Idema said. “The ad buying API is an open API, so partners and clients can use it directly to buy from the Facebook ad suite.”

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1 Comment

  1. I’m sure that part of the reason for kicking all the buyers off FBX was because all the tech DSPs were far better at targeting and driving conversion on FBX than Facebook was. Not just talking about retargeting, but also using FBX for prospecting if not exclusively the latter. This was a consistent comment from many advertisers who used FBX.

    The move from FBX to the Facebook API specifically removed the ability for DSPs to do impression level bidding, which is the whole reason that they were better at targeting on that platform. Removing the impression level bidding made everyone else’s targeting just as bad as Facebook’s.

    This could also be a contributing factor as to why they pulled away from targeting ads outside their own walls. Then sounding like a spoiled brat by citing the incredible amount of fraud as the reason for retreating, and trying to poison any well that isn’t theirs in the process.

    FWIW – Any DSP worth their salt has fraud filters, and monitors fraud delivery with objective and accredited 3rd parties measurement vendors making sure that fraud is below reasonable benchmarks on any given campaign.

    What I find amusing is do people really think that Facebook doesn’t have its own account and ad fraud? Does Facebook think people are this stupid – perhaps it’s hubris? Hell – I can go to and buy 5000 Facebook likes for $5…