Facebook Real Time Bidding

Facebook Real Time Bidding

The big announcement from Facebook this week is that it’s making inventory available through a Nasdaq-like system that allows real time bidding. Some say they have implemented this system because click through rates are dismal by the standards of other advertising outlets. And furthermore, actions after click through are pretty dire as well. However, the system itself is definitely a sign of things to come and there are a few implications from this.

It shows that consumer behaviour is changing rapidly, so much that one ad format can increase or decrease in popularity (and value) as much as the volatile stock market of late. The consumer doesn’t think about which format or channel they are clicking into, because there are so many – display, video, social, mobile or search advertising.

The consumer may not realise that their demographic is prone to Facebook ‘searches returning a brand page,’ however marketers will be watching them anonymously and bidding for them as customers and prospects in real time.

Another interpretation is that the digital arena is capable of moving faster and it cannot be approached with the same mass media company structure. Usually digital mirrors traditional, as specialised teams handle each digital channel. This is a legacy of traditional media, where TV buying requires radically different approaches than running a print ad or sending a targeted offer via traditional mail. Departmentalisation of digital media teams may not enable the quick response required for digital format transitions to take advantage of other opportunities. This has led to fragmentation and a reliance on blasting messages out to consumers regardless of interest.

This marketplace should, instead of fragmentation, allow more targeting options than ever before. The automated process filters billions of impressions and uses math and models to make sense of them. The automation, using a demand-side platform, allows the marketer to connect to millions of consumers in a seamless and integrated way. On top of this consumers can be communicated with dependent on their engagement with brands and even personal ‘value.’ The question is how far will these automated systems go in future?

It will be a transformative time, but those people and organisations that put consumers and results first, will find themselves part of a revolution in marketing. Good agencies have been effectively target marketing for a long time through other channels and we have moved beyond the notion that simply buying eyeballs will result in success. Inputs can be directly connected to outcomes so that the marketer and agency can recognise which investments produce results.


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