Top-Five Targeting Secrets For The Facebook Exchange

The Facebook Exchange (FBX) is a new social advertising option for marketers who want to reach almost a billion active Internet users globally: a real-time bidding (RTB) system through which Facebook sells ad inventory to multiple bidders in an auction.

As an online marketer, you are likely already familiar with targeting Facebook Marketplace ads based on an individuals interests or "likes." However, targeting an audience through the Facebook Exchange works very differently. In fact, Facebook provides no data that you can use for targeting purposes.  Even the geo-location of each individual is masked.

So, with no data provided by Facebook, how can you target an audience on the Facebook Exchange?

Targeting through the Facebook Exchange requires that you have already identified any individuals of interest before they arrive on   This is technically accomplished by dropping an anonymous cookie (or cookie equivalent) on the browser of those individuals you wish to reach.   If that “cookied” visitor subsequently arrives on, you can bid on them knowing they are of interest.



In practice, the only way to do this is by working with one of a handful of companies that have FBX access.  However, there are some secret targeting options through the Facebook Exchange:

Secret 1)  You can retarget your own site visitors first. This isn't much of a secret -- but there's something to be said for identifying the lowest-hanging opportunity.  By using your own data collected on your own site, you can launch a simple but highly effective Facebook Exchange campaign.  Anyone arriving at your own site can subsequently see a customized Facebook Exchange ad.  Online retailers can still leverage dynamic creative to show imagery in the advertisements that match the last product a visitor browsed or put in his/her shopping cart.

Secret 2)  You can use third-party data.  Third-party data providers can identify an audience based on behavior or other mechanisms.  Provided the FBX partner you work with supports this type of integration, you can identify an audience using pre-defined segments and then find that audience on Facebook.

Secret 3)  You can target search data.   You cannot directly target an audience on Facebook based on the searches they do within Facebook.  However, you can work with an FBX partner that identifies your target audience based on their recent searches on Google, Yahoo or Bing.   Once the audience has been identified and they subsequently navigate to then they will see your search-targeted ad.  In this sense you are doing search marketing -- but inside!  While the search event you are targeting might have occurred 30 minutes or an hour ago, this technique allows for a fascinating combination of search targeting on the world's largest social network.

Secret 4)  Geo-targeting is still possible.  The Facebook Exchange does not directly provide any geo-targeting options.  However, some partner platforms have allowed for this by leveraging individuals last known geo-location.  For example, if my location at 9am in the morning was New York then when I arrive on the Facebook Exchange at 2pm it’s safe to assume that is still my location.

Secret 5)  Time-of-day targeting and more.   Many of the well-known options for optimizing display campaigns can be used for your Facebook Exchange campaigns.  For example, you can target specific times of the day, day of the week etc. that you know your audience responds best to your online campaigns.   You can leverage these proven and effective targeting options through your FBX platform partner.

The book is literally still being written on the Facebook Exchange, and early results are encouraging. With these five targeting secrets, you can begin to launch new and powerful social advertising campaigns.

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