Facebook Exchange launched in 2012 to enable advertisers to extend their exchange retargeting efforts into Facebook environments. FBX was the first -- and now, only -- time that Facebook has made any of its "walled-off" inventory available via an exchange. So why would Facebook shut down this part of its business?
The answer: Facebook has built a retargeting solution that is far more effective than retargeting through FBX. This product, Website Custom Audiences (WCA), was released in fall 2012, and Facebook has been testing and scaling it ever since.
FBX and WCA essentially do the same thing (build audiences for retargeting), but there are some key differences that advertisers should be aware of:
1. The WCA pixel builds audiences based on Facebook’s native data, so it’s able to reach real people -- unlike FBX, which is only able to track cookies. This means that you’re able to more accurately reach the audiences you’re targeting and you can layer that data on top of your retargeting pools (age, gender, location, etc.).
2. WCA can reach audiences on ANY device -- desktop, mobile, tablet -- while FBX was limited to desktop only. This significantly increases the amount of inventory and people available to target, with over 79% of users using their mobile devices to access Facebook and other social media platforms.
3. You can partner WCA targeting with Dynamic Ads for Product (DAP) to dynamically serve creative to users. This allows advertisers to build sophisticated retargeting strategies to push users down the funnel, or upsell/cross-sell them to other products.
4. With WCA retargeting, you can use any Facebook ad format, including the highly effective Carousel unit. In comparison, advertisers were limited to using the Link Ad format with FBX.
5. FBX was accessed via an exchange through programmatic ad-tech companies such as Criteo, MediaMath, and AppNexus. WCAs are built via Facebook’s pixel, which advertisers can access via Facebook Marketing Partners.
6. Website Custom Audiences can be easily utilized across both Facebook and Instagram. Also, Facebook recently announced that it’s extending the DPA product onto Instagram -- which means advertisers can easily extend retargeting strategies onto both channels.