Facebook Moves Video Targeting To Audience Direct For Publishers

Facebook on Tuesday said it will start testing a new self-service tool called Audience Direct that lets publishers sell video ad space directly to advertisers using Facebook's people-based advertising platform.

Direct sales makes up the largest share of a publisher’s business, with more than 90% of ad inventory for the largest businesses being sold through direct sales channels.

Brian Boland, VP publisher solutions at Facebook, likens Audience Direct to the way Programmatic Direct works, where advertisers place a media buy directly with the publisher through automated systems. It lets publishers sell audiences across mobile, desktop and even over-the-top  content. 

No publisher wants to serve bad impressions, Boland said, adding that the problem with cookies is they're not as accurate as audience segmentation. "Looking at Nielsen data, we can see the industry average is 59% accurate, so four out of 10 times you're showing the wrong ad to the wrong person," he said.

Facebook offers audiences based on age and gender, but Boland said Audience Direct could introduce other segments.

According to Boland, publishers' biggest challenge today is that they need to deliver twice as many ads to hit the correct target audience and meet the goal the advertiser set. "If an advertiser wants one million impressions that reach women ages 18 to 35, the publisher will need to deliver two million impressions," he said. "They end up wasting one million."

Think about video, where CPMs are about $30 each, so on one campaign the advertiser will waste about $30,000. Double or triple that and the cost mounts.

A handful of publishers and their advertising partners are testing the platform, including  A+E Networks, ESPN, Hearst Television, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Tubi TV.

Boland claims that during an early test campaign using Audience Direct, Facebook saw Nielsen on-target delivery at 90%, compared with the industry average of 59% for narrow targeting. On two other broadly targeted campaigns, Facebook saw on-target delivery at more than 90%, compared to an industry average of 81%.
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