Facebook Exchange – Retargeting your customers with cookies and Google search data

It’s exciting times ahead for brands on Facebook!

Recently, Facebook introduced Graph search. If you haven’t heard about it, Graph Search is a way to access information, people and things that are already on Facebook. Specifically, it’s for finding things that have been shared on the Facebook Open Graph (the feature on Facebook that shares the apps you use, photos you comment on, things you clicked Like on etc. with the world at large). Graph Search is currently soft launching in Australia so not everyone has the feature yet.

And in the end of 2012, Facebook announced Facebook Exchange (FBX). FBX is a real time bidding ad exchange in which advertisers drop cookies on users’ browsers as they surf the web – shopping for example – and then retarget those users with ads once they enter Facebook. The end result for the users – if you were looking at airline tickets on Jetstar and then visit Facebook 2 days later, you might see ads from Jetstar reminding you about booking your flight with them.

FBX presents a real opportunity to combine the benefits of programmatic buying through first and third party audience data, with social targeting to enhance brand awareness and grow the consumer base.

Here’s how Facebook Exchange works:

  1. A user visits a website that’s hired a Demand Side Platform (DSP) rigged up with Facebook Exchange
  2. A cookie is dropped on that user’s computer, typically when they’ve shown purchase intent
  3. If the user fails to make a purchase, or the advertiser wants to market to them more, the DSP contacts Facebook and gives them the user they wish to target’s anonymous User ID
  4. The advertiser pre-loads creative for ads that would target that user
  5. When the user visits Facebook it recognizes the cookie dropped by the DSP
  6. The DSP is notified and allowed to make a real-time bid to show the user ads
  7. The DSPs with the highest bids get their highly-targeted ads shown to the user
  8. If the user disapproves of being shown the ad and ‘X’s it out, they’re shown a link to the DSP where they can opt out of future Facebook Exchange ads

And the even better news with FBX – Facebook has also allowed the use of search data in targeting Facebook users with ads. Previously, advertisers could target Facebook users with their own data collected from cookies. Cookies can be used to tell advertisers what the consumer is interested in e.g. cars, holidays to France, etc.), but it doesn’t indicate what they are shopping for. Search data, on the other hand, does. Anyone searching for “Chanel bags” is likely to be interested in buying one/two/many. This is called shopping “intent” data.

Until now, Facebook has had very little ability to serve ads based on that sort of intent. Mostly, ads are based on demographic and fan-page data from users’ Facebook profiles. Basically you advertise to the person,  not to their behaviour.

Google was the king of shopping intent search for years because of the assumption that if you search for “Cadillac Escalade,” you’re likely looking to buy a Caddy. Google’s search ad revenues are in the billions for this reason. In the past Facebook had a disadvantage because no one really uses Facebook to go shopping. But now with Graph Search and Facebook Exchange, search retargeting can now bring that aspect into Facebook. Given that up to 1 in 5 pageviews on the Internet is generated by Facebook, Google needs to watch out.


Get in touch with us to explore integrated marketing for your business – contact us at 8517 2000 or shoot us a note online!



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