Facebook, Google Reach Surprise Detente On Advertising
Ever since Facebook launched its advertising exchange last year, allowing advertisers to target consumers more easily while they’re on Facebook, one big player hasn’t been allowed to participate: Google. That’s about to change.
Google announced yesterday that after a year of getting excluded from the Facebook Exchange, its display-ad buying software will be able to place ads on the exchange within a few months. Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager, formerly Invite Media, is one of the largest so-called demand-side platforms that helps advertisers buy ads on many websites through ad exchanges such as Google’s own DoubleClick exchange.
In the next few months, according to a blog post yesterday by Payam Shodjai, a DoubleClick senior product manager, advertisers using it will also be able to use Bid Manager to buy ads on the Facebook ad exchange. That means advertisers will be able to use the Google service as more of a one-stop shop for buying ads online. The website AdExchanger.com later reported that Facebook has also granted Amazon.com, which operates its own ad buying unit called Amazon Advertising Platform, access to the Facebook exchange, though Facebook has not confirmed that.
Since it launched in June 2012, FBX, as it’s known, has allowed advertisers to “retarget” customers who browsed or shopped on their site and then clicked over to Facebook, using the targeting markers called cookies. This was a very big deal for advertisers, because people spend so much time on Facebook, thus creating a huge amount of ad inventory.
Facebook has never discussed why it has excluded Google from FBX. But it has been assumed that it didn’t want such a huge, direct competitor to get access to its users on its own site, or the data Google could glean on Facebook ad campaigns, or at least that it didn’t want to do anything to make Google and DoubleClick an even bigger force in online advertising.
But it appears that they’ve come to some kind of agreement, though Google declined to reveal more details. There may simply be a recognition by Facebook, too, that anything that gets more ads on the service helps Facebook, at the very least by creating more competition among advertisers, raising ad prices in the auction-based exchange. AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka notes that the impetus could have been Facebook’s ad partners hammering the social network to make their lives easier.
At least one of those reputed hammers sounded happy. ”This is good news for open marketplaces and the ability to provide clients with choice,” Kurt Unkel, president of Publicis-owned digital ad agency VivaKi Nerve Center, said in an emailed statement. “We applaud Facebook for opening up access to Google (and Amazon) and we are excited for the possibilities.” David Rodnitzky, founder and CEO of digital agency 3Q Digital, said the move should be a win for Google, Facebook, and their advertisers and indicated it might not be the last example of cooperation: “Facebook has built numerous ad units that are driving positive ROI for advertisers so it wouldn’t shock me if this is just the first of many integrations we see between Google’s ad platform and Facebook.”
Facebook’s ad partners also sounded an optimistic note. ”It’s a positive sign to see market conglomerates working together to help define the future of advertising,” said Dan Slagen, senior vice president of marketing for Facebook ad partner Nanigans.
Why the change now? Google’s not saying, and neither is Facebook, but in recent months, a couple of developments have forced the two companies to work together more closely. Google bought the social ad firm Wildfire to manage Facebook campaigns in July 2012. For its part, Facebook bought the ad serving firm Atlas from Microsoft in February, and that technology serves ads on Google’s ad network and uses its search ad software.
The change could affect the business of other demand-side platforms such as Turn, which have benefited from Google’s absence on the Facebook exchange by stepping in to provide services instead.