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Breakdown: FBX vs. Standard Facebook Ads

With Facebook’s recent launch of Facebook Exchange (FBX) Page Post Ads, it is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish where the line is between FBX ads and Standard Facebook Ads.  FBX Page Post Ads also add another ad format option to an ecosystem that may already seem a bit crowded and confusing to newcomers.

It appears as though Facebook understands this problem, announcing last week that they plan to reduce the number of available ad units from 27 down to about half that over the next six months.  They hope the changes will reduce redundancies and simplify their offering.

In the meantime, it will still be critical to understand the differences between FBX and Standard Facebook Ads, and all of the options each allows.  Equally important is making the right choices between the two so that your Facebook ad program will achieve your business goals.

Meeting Business Goals While Minimizing Disruption

When you think about the evolution of advertising on Facebook, the ultimate struggle has been to meet the goals of businesses while not disrupting users.  In the early days of advertising on Facebook, advertisers had the ability to target users based on the users' interests, activities and geographic location. It was a great way to locate and reach a target audience to generate excitement and engagement for brands on Fan Pages.

The big step that Facebook made with the introduction of their Ad Exchange was tying in the user’s purchase intent more directly by utilizing 1st and 3rd party cookie data when it was available.  Advertisers could make their ads more appealing for this subset of users, and more importantly, generate more efficient direct response results.  Since the management of FBX is similar to that for more traditional display advertising, FBX ads are created and deployed through select demand side platforms (DSPs).

While Facebook’s Ad Exchange does have a greater ability to tap into purchase intent, advertisers are currently limited in the number of ad types available, which is in contrast to Standard Facebook Ads.  According to Facebook, this restriction is consistent with the purpose of the Facebook Ad Exchange as an offering focused on direct response conversion goals. The recent release of Page Post Ads for link content increases the available FBX ad types to two.

Choosing Between FBX and Standard Facebook Ads

Between FBX and Standard Ads, which one makes the most sense for your business?

It depends on your social media goals and the KPIs you’re using to judge and communicate success internally. The main differences between FBX and Standard Facebook Ads are the availability of ad types as well as the targeting options.

First, consider targeting. Is your primary goal to generate last-touch conversions? Your best bet would be the Ad Exchange. Is your primary goal brand awareness, community growth, or customer experience? Standard Facebook Ads would be the better choice.

Second, consider ad types. Do you want to promote and drive traffic directly to your website? The Ad Exchange is a perfect fit. Does your goal require you to advertise user actions, events, offers, published videos or images? Standard Facebook Ads will help you accomplish that.

Here's a handy breakdown between the two:

The Ever-Changing Facebook Landscape

With the success seen from both FBX and Standard Ads, Facebook has been slowly testing Page Post Ads within the user’s News Feed over the last few months with select DSPs. Early results are showing increased return for direct-response clients, and the typical user is seeing more and more advertisers fill the page.

While this is simply the latest change, Facebook is constantly testing bringing paid brand messaging into the content that users are browsing, all without reaching the disruption threshold. With each new development, we are constantly evaluating how to use the capabilities Facebook offers to create value and reach specific goals for our clients.

In order to best meet those goals, RKG has developed proprietary tools that help us optimize bidding and manage large amounts of advertising at scale. We are always building new tools that can help us take advantage of newly released capabilities as they are announced.

RKG has worked with many clients on both FBX ads through DSPs as well as Standard Facebook Ads via the Facebook API.  This gives us insight into performance that we can then tie back into our technology and best practices. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help improve your Facebook marketing performance.

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