Facebook is also becoming more of a content provider, particularly with video, where Facebook views itself as a discovery mechanism – one of the reasons it eschews pre-roll but enables post-roll, notably with its partnership with Verizon and the NFL through which it hosts football clips in the news feed.
“People are discovering videos as they scroll through their news feed. So seeing the video you’re discovering first is really important, as opposed to when you go watch a specific video the way you might on YouTube,” Fischer said.
“Unparalleled distribution opportunities in terms of the number of people on our platform, the amount of time people spend – more than five minutes on mobile and more than nine minutes on desktop – is very compelling,” Fischer said. “And when people come to Facebook, they’re in discovery mode, so getting onto [the] news feed and being discovered there is very powerful.”
Facebook is also increasingly aware of its importance to publishers, primarily as a referral engine, and developments in this front could have advertising implications. (For instance, if Facebook were to host articles rather than direct users to publisher pages, how would this affect purchase of ads and distribution of ad revenue?)
So given all of these grand initiatives, how important is FBX?
“It’s most effective with straight-up retargeting capabilities,” Fischer told AdExchanger.
FBX is only a small part of Facebook’s ad tech and provides only desktop inventory on Facebook. Yahoo’s Right Media exchange expanded beyond Yahoo-owned sites, but that inventory quality degraded to the point where Yahoo pulled the plug.
AdRoll’s Berke, when asked about the current quality of FBX inventory and whether it was buying the same amounts for clients as it did when the exchange first came about, simply stated: “Facebook is a crucial inventory source for us and our spend continues to grow there because it performs and provides a platform for us to build on in a variety of ways to deliver value for our customers.”