Hot! Facebook: The New Realm for Remarketing

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I was reading an article recently regarding Facebook’s new remarketing tool: Facebook Exchange. Investors and consumers alike have questioned the potential profitability of Facebook, and it seems the company is looking for ways outside of its traditional advertisements to bring in some revenue.

Remarketing Defined – Simply

Remarketing is not a new concept – Google has been participating in remarketing on its Display Network for quite some time. I won’t get into all the technicalities of it, but I will give a bit of a review/rundown.

Joe wants to buy a Kindle from Amazon (one of the top sites that employs “remarketing”). He’s done the research and is convinced that this is the e-reader he wants to purchase. He added the Kindle to his shopping cart, but is then interrupted for whatever reason (crying children, an asteroid, etc.). As an almost customer, Amazon knows who Joe is and that he had the intent to buy a Kindle. Amazon then takes action by remarketing to Joe. Advertisements for the Kindle from Amazon will then appear on other websites he visits that are part of the Google Display Network.

(Remarketing doesn’t necessarily have to be someone having the intent to purchase something. It could be anything – reaching a contact page, signing up for an email list, etc.)

Isn’t Regular Internet Marketing Bad Enough?

From a consumer standpoint, I can see why some might be a little hesitant about this whole process. Why would I want to be continually reminded through ads of what I intended to buy? As consumers, we tend to have a predisposed hatred of any sort of advertisement whether it’s initial marketing or remarketing. I agree that ads can be irritating, but that’s the beauty of being a consumer. We have the decision to buy whatever we please – no advertisement/company can ever make that decision for us.

As a marketer, I see remarketing as a great way to target the best kind of customers. These are the customers that know who you are, what they want, and that you are able to give it to them. The hardest part has already been done (convincing them to purchase your product) and remarketing to them just might be the extra push they need.

Facebook Exchange and How it Works

Now, back to Facebook. Through the new Facebook Exchange, when a user visits a site that has hired a Facebook Partner Platform (DSP), a cookie will be placed on that person’s browser only when they reach a stage that implies purchase intent (e.g. the abandoned shopping cart from my Amazon example). If the user does not complete a transaction, the DSP will be able to bid on retargeting ads that appear on Facebook when the user visits. Users have the ability to opt-out of future ad targeting, but they cannot opt-out entirely. Facebook may also use information from those cookies for future ad targeting. Despite many opting out due to the privacy issues Facebook already faces, this appears to be a quite aggressive tactic.

New Rival for Google?

Remarketing for Facebook might be a good tool, but there are some limits. One being that there is little creative room when it comes to Facebook advertisements. There is a set size and format, and this could become a potential drawback of Facebook Exchange. Another constraint is the lack of Facebook’s own targeting options through Facebook Exchange. Advertisers cannot use Facebook’s targeting factors such as demographics, Likes, or other interests.

Facebook Exchange will be a great experiment for Facebook, but I don’t think it will ever measure up to Google’s remarketing techniques. Facebook may have millions of users, but will never have the reach that Google has (take a look at this awesome infographic that compares Facebook and Google Display Network advertising).

The major factor present in all of this is audience. People on Google are searching for something: products, services, news, etc. People on Facebook are there for friends, socializing and networking. That is where Google surpasses all social networks when it comes to advertising. Whether Facebook Exchange could rival Google, only time will tell.

What do you think of Facebook Exchange? Do you think it will ever be like Google’s remarketing? Leave your response in the comments!


Kristen Bachmeier

Kristen is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University and holds a BS in Marketing with a minor in Advertising. Kristen started as an intern for Atilus and spent two months getting caught up in all things tech. When not immersing herself in blogging and social media marketing, she likes to spend her time drinking coffee, kayaking, shopping, and going to theme parks (preferably Disney).

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