Facebook Expands Retargeting To News Feeds

Becky Doles

If you’re running ads on Facebook you likely know that retargeting ads, which up to this point have only appeared in Facebook’s sidebar, can dramatically increase the success of your ad campaigns. Facebook’s announcement yesterday that it will begin serving retargeting ads purchased through its ad exchange (FBX) directly in the News Feeds of users is a key change for anyone running retargeting campaigns.

Unlike ads in the sidebar, these new retargeted ads look more like stories that blend right into the news feeds of users, and are marked with the “sponsored” stamp that helps identify that the post is advertorial. However, unlike other sponsored stories these ads are targeted to that specific user (just like any other type of retargeting). Facebook explained that they “…wanted to give advertisers and agencies the opportunity to deliver highly relevant ads in News Feed, the most engaging place on the web.” With this new feature “…advertisers can run Page post link ads on the right-hand side of Facebook and in News Feed on desktop. As they do today, these ads will point back to specific landing pages to help direct-response advertisers drive conversions.”

Running retargeted ads (and not only on Facebook) is critical to driving more conversions, as these campaigns create a more relevant experience for users. Retargeting is compelling because you are showing ads to people who have already had at least one interaction with your company. For instance, if a user visits your website, opens your email newsletter, or clicks on an ad, you might drop a cookie on their browser so that you can serve them ads on other sites. Retargeting is incredibly effective for advertisers who take the time to manage their campaigns and optimize their ad spend.

Facebook is beginning to place these ads as part of a closed alpha test, and initially users will only see them on the desktop News Feed. While Facebook says that people spend more time in News Feed than any other part of Facebook – the company is staying quiet regarding the time users spend on mobile versus desktop. Obviously this limitation of restricting retargeting to desktop News Feeds probably won’t last long, as Facebook understands the importance of mobile. This is clearly evidenced by Facebook’s recent decision to internally block their own employees from using the desktop version of the social network, so they focus more on mobile development.

Initially brands will only be able to serve these retargeted ads through one of a small number of demand side platforms (DSPs) including TellApart, MediaMath, and Nanigans. If you’re interested in running retargeted ads through FBX exchange, and don’t have an existing relationship with one of those DSPs, stay tuned, as Facebook says it will be adding additional ones over the next few weeks.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

One response to “Facebook Expands Retargeting To News Feeds”

  1. This makes more sense and has some appeal for me over the type of sponsored story that seems to pop up in a Facebook stream when I’ve had no prior relationship with that brand. Someone who’s website I’ve visited before? Sure. That’s more like it. Then it doesn’t feel like an invasion from a stranger of my somewhat private news feed.

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