Facebook 'And' Twitter, Not 'Versus'

Last week’s Social Media Insider Summit and Mobile Insider Summit both touched on Facebook and Twitter, and what the two competitors offer marketers in terms of ad stacks.

Both have real-time bidding (RTB) ad exchanges. Facebook built its own (the Facebook Exchange, or FBX), while Twitter acquired one (MoPub). What’s interesting is that while Facebook is a “mobile-first” platform, the FBX doesn’t feature mobile inventory. It’s for desktop display only. Twitter's exchange, on the other hand, is for mobile advertising.

Facebook’s ad tech stack also includes Website Custom Audiences (WCA), which, like the Facebook Exchange, also allows advertisers to retarget consumers. Panelists agreed that the FBX is better for direct-response marketers, while WCA is better for larger brand advertisers.

“I’d say you use FBX when you’re solely focused on outcomes,” said Chris Victory, VP of global partnerships at MediaMath. “For direct response people, it’s better. We looked at FBX versus all of the other exchanges, [and] it’s either No. 1 or No. 2 in terms of performance. It works really well for direct response.”

Victory was speaking on the “Cross-Currents: Navigating Facebook’s Multiple Data Streams to Market Your Brand” panel at the Social Media Insider Summit.

As previously noted, the panel also touched on Twitter, and like clockwork, when Twitter entered the conversion one of the first phrases out of panelists’ mouths was “real-time.”

“Where I … see the value of Twitter is more in the real-time nature of Twitter,” said Anita Avram, director of partnerships at Marin Software. “You give and you get information in real-time.” She said Twitter is great at meeting an immediate need marketers may have, which means the ads don’t have a long shelf life. Facebook ads, she pointed out, lead to deeper engagement and have a longer shelf life.

So while Twitter and Facebook are rivals on the social media field, both have created a niche: Facebook as the platform with incredible reach potential, deeper engagement opportunities and a longer shelf life; Twitter as the real-time engagement platform that lets even the largest of brands connect with consumers on a more personal and immediate level.

Cathy Taylor, a columnist at MediaPost and the panel’s moderator, asked if the “real-time” aspect of Twitter is a limiting factor, pointing out that it’s “great when it’s happening, but [what about] after?”

“It’s safe to say I think with a promotional calendar in my head,” quipped Mark Papia, VP of agency relations at AdParlor, an Adknowledge company, in response to Taylor’s question. “I think if we put a calendar up and talked to many of the brand people in this room … they wouldn’t just see the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards.”

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