Facebook Exchange Adopts Ad Verification, Intent Retargeting

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a correction noting that the headline inaccurately implied that Facebook is adopting an ad verification system.

Marketers have learned to integrate intent signals from search engine marketing into retargeting for display ads. Now the online ad industry moves that concept into Facebook Exchange to verify when an ad actually gets viewed.

Brad Flora, Perfect Audience president and co-founder, said Web retargeting in Facebook Exchange makes viewability a non-issue. "Nearly all the ad impressions in Facebook are viewable," he said. "They appear on the right side and scroll down with the user, so advertisers almost never pay for ad impressions that aren't viewed."

The distinction between Facebook and Web retargeting prompted Flora and Perfect Audience co-founders to use intent signals to create a do-it-yourself retargeting platform for brands advertising on the social network, ensuring they pay only for viewable ad impressions.

Greg Ott, CMO at Demandbase, thinks differently about the benefits of Facebook ads that follow users down the page. "It would be interesting to test the performance metrics based on the longer impression times," he said.  

Infolinks, a new suite of real-time intent-based display ads for publishers, taps into the CEO's days as GM of display advertising at Yahoo. Dave Zinman, also credited for co-inventing the ad server, said addressing real-time "intent" targeting supports verification and viewability at the time consumers are on the page.

Infolinks' ad units serve nontraditional placements on the page. "Search is the place real-time intent is most commonly found," Zinman said. "We will serve display ads based on intent only when someone conducts an action, rather than previous intent."

It does this by analyzing the text on the page, similar to forthcoming features from Google. Verifying viewable ads and monitoring unsafe content remains top of mind for marketers, not just on Facebook, but across the Web. Last week, Google introduced DoubleClick Verification, an ad verification tool built directly into DoubleClick for Advertisers. The platform analyzes content by URL for each page ad serve-up on.

Google released a white paper called "Enabling Smarter Media Buying With Ad Verification. "The paper outlines ad verification within the server, but also describes features under development from DoubleClick, such as preemptive ad blocking and custom content classification.

The preemptive ad blocking would prevent an ad from appearing on a page based on specified predetermined criteria, whereas custom content clarification, which would identify sentiment like positive or negative tones of content on the page.

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