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Facebook’s TV-synced ads offer: Already an opportunity for brands?

On October 23, 2013 Civolution announced a partnership with Optimal to enable brands to purchase Facebook ads from FBX (Facebook Exchange (FBX), a real-time bidding ad serving protocol in synchronisation with TV commercials. This development comes as Facebook and Twitter are seen to be vying for superiority as being the chosen destination for audiences looking to talk about their favourite TV shows, whilst also seeking to maximise revenues from advertising related to TV. To date, Twitter has had a big advantage as it offers an ad targeting option that can help brands reach the same viewer twice — firstly on TV, but also on Twitter.
From the initial results published, the benefits for brands of supplementing programmatic buying with TV content identification are evident. The pilot program of this targeting methodology found that where Facebook News Feed ads were synced in real-time to TV broadcast spots, they experienced over 60 per cent lift in CTR (click through rate), whilst ads synced to competitor ads saw over 35 per cent lift in CTR. This approach could, in the near future, prove to be the go-to tactic for deploying high value tactical Facebook buys around contextually relevant TV content.
Opportunities for brands
The technology that is powering this service is Civolution’s ad-triggering service, SyncNow, which has been integrated with Optimal’s Open Signals platform.
SyncNow is an ACR (automatic content recognition) solution which is linked to one of the largest commercials databases in the world. Open Signals enables advertisers to synchronise their Facebook advertising campaigns with multiple outside data feeds such as offline revenue, inventory levels, weather conditions or coupon redemptions. Brands can then optimise their ads in real-time based on metrics that are affecting actual business performance. The partnership enables brands to select which television ads they would like to synchronise with (whether it be their own or competitors) in real-time to a Facebook ad campaign.
Following the announcement of this new product, brands will now be able to buy ads that will reach people on the social network at the same time as their ad is showing on television. For brands concerned about the challenge that companion devices pose to viewer attention of both TV programming in advertisements, the announcement of this product is significant. To re-connect with those audiences who find themselves focussing more on their second screen during commercial breaks, TV synced advertising on these devices provides a tangible opportunity to yield higher engagement levels and greater return on total ad spend.
At this stage this approach cannot be considered as refined as the one available on Twitter because no Facebook data is integrated and therefore there is no definitive evidence that users are actually talking about a show. Nevertheless for the time being, reaching someone who is potentially watching TV but not fully engaged is still an appealing proposition and this is a situation that Facebook is likely to be monitoring closely in terms of shaping their evolving ad suite offering.
The author, Phil Jackson, is part of the digital team at Mindshare Worldwide.