Facebook’s shuttering of FBX heralds the maturation of mobile-friendly, people-based approaches for digital advertising.

Bombshell: Dateline 2014
Brian Boland, Facebook VP of ads product marketing and Atlas, created a stir at Ad Age with his article “Facebook Exec: Cookies Don’t Cut It Anymore for Online Ad Measurement.”

“Here’s my prediction: We’ll look at cookie-based measurement in two years the same way we look at a tricked-out 1992 Dell today — antiquated and inefficient. Alternatives to cookies … will be the way that marketers measure campaigns. This is the future of measurement, especially in today’s mobile world.

Backwards FBX: Cookies, not People
Brian’s quote came as a wake-up call for advertisers on Facebook’s FBX, launched two years previously at the height of programmatic interest. In 2012, FBX was the first social RTB and provided a direct response channel into the growing Facebook audience.

FBX was an early success for right-column programmatic marketers, but had two limitations: FBX was solely cookie-based, and FBX was desktop-only.

Mobile Killed the Radio Star
As predicted by Brian, 2016 is bringing new marketing realities to the fore. Reaching the same audience cross-device is a significant hurdle to solve.

Every digital marketer understands the rising tide of mobile, but some may not understand the scale that Facebook is working at. As of their Q4 2015 earning report, 51.7% of Facebook users were exclusively mobile, while over 90% of their monthly active users are mobile at least some part of the time. That last figure nets out to about 1.4 billion monthly mobile users.

Without mobile support, scratch FBX.

Replacing FBX: People, not Cookies
Facebook now offers more compelling performance alternatives and more interactive ad formats than it did when FBX launched in 2012.

The best practice today is to combine user signals to create a Facebook Custom Audience, and couple that with the marketer’s product feed in a Dynamic Ad.

1) Custom Audiences allow a combination of methods to compose an audience segment, including cookied-behaviors from web browsers, social logins, API-integrations with FMPs, and CRM-based 1st party integrations. These Custom Audiences are tied to persistent ids, are mobile and desktop friendly, are device independent, and are the basis of Facebook’s people-based approach for targeting and measurement.

2) Dynamic Ads are a template-based approach tied to a marketer’s product catalog and Custom Audience segments. These ads can provide a native impression inside the Newsfeed, support cross device retargeting, and even allow deep linking into apps. And when a user buys a product, that ad stops being served to that user.

The Kenshoo View
Kenshoo is excited by Facebook’s commitment to a strong mobile-friendly, people-based approach. Kenshoo has been supporting Facebook’s core innovations and adding complementary solutions that enhance the audience-focused approach.

In 2014 we launched our award-winning Intent-Based Audience solution, which creates Facebook Custom Audiences from recent search activity for an advertiser’s products. And in Q1 2016 Kenshoo announced Infinity Tag, which reveals more contextual data to understand audience path to purchase flows. Both of these solution contribute to an accurate cross-channel signal-rich segmentation strategy that is crucial for increasing ad relevancy.

We’ve also seen Dynamic Ads take off with Kenshoo’s clients. In our Q1 2016 Digital Marketing snapshot, we noted “Paid social spend actually increased from Q4 to Q1, running counter to normal seasonal patterns and demonstrating the advertiser appeal for new offerings like Instagram and Dynamic Product Ads.”

Kenshoo is also supporting Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Travel which brings this approach to the Travel vertical, and DPA for Instagram which extends this performance approach to the Instagram platform.

Kenshoo’s clients have always favored a more native, performance-driven mobile approach. While FBX will go away this November, we expect continued success from these latest audience-focused innovations in the quarters ahead.

Kenshoo has fully supported Dynamic Ads for over a year, and worked with several clients on ground-up implementations with significant ROAS incrementals over non-Dynamic Ad campaigns.
Kenshoo’s Strategic Services team is available to help clients determine the best approach to move away from FBX and enable current best practices.