See Ya Later, FBX. It’s Time to Embrace a New Era

This November, we’ll be bidding an official farewell to Facebook Exchange, the social network’s 2012 solution to smarter real-time bidding and desktop retargeting. But don’t mourn the loss of FBX for too long. We’ve come a long way since the old ages of desktop-centric consumer behavior, and now well into the new, exciting era of mobile, it’s time for change. We’ll all be okay, I promise. In fact, we’ll be better.

If you remember four years ago when Facebook first released the FBX platform, it was predicted to make a significant impact not only on advertisers’ capabilities through Facebook, but also on the overall digital ecosystem as a whole. And that it certainly did. With 15 ad tech partners on board, including those like Kenshoo, MediaMath, Criteo and AdRoll, it was a way for advertisers to get a new, dynamic kind of access to Facebook’s inventory – more specifically, impression-level targeting to Facebook users who’d been previously cookied somewhere else. It did have its flaws, but in a world of primarily desktop (and Facebook) users, FBX was an important and often very successful platform for advertisers looking for more conversions through the social network.

Flash forward to 2016, and we now find ourselves placing a much greater emphasis on cross-device and mobile-first strategies. With the consumer journey as fragmented as ever, switching between devices, apps and other platforms throughout a single day’s time, FBX isn’t nearly as relevant as it used to be. Even Facebook itself disclosed in a recent earnings call that back in 2012, mobile contributed 41% to its $1.6 billion ad business; while today, those numbers have changed to 82% of its $5.2 billion in ad revenue. Its strategy has clearly shifted with the changing demands of its users, and in turn, the needs of advertisers. It’s all about being more personal and contextually relevant – and who can argue with that?

Quietly downplaying FBX for some time now, the social network has instead been reinforcing its mobile-first vision by offering ad APIs like Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs), now just Dynamic Ads. And we’ve been following the trend, which is why we weren’t all that surprised by the official announcement in May. In working alongside partners, MediaMath and Criteo, our clients have reaped much greater benefits from the functionality, scale and relevance that DPAs offer. Dynamic ads are generated automatically based on the “dynamic” template set by advertisers, pulling in the most relevant info from the product catalog – the real importance being that they’re deliverable across mobile, tablet and desktop.

With November approaching, we’ll see more movement off of FBX, and greater reliance on smart partners to ensure performance is met, and even surpassed with the alternative ad solutions. While this is the end of one era, it opens up a whole new variety of opportunities for marketers to leverage Facebook. We’ll certainly be keeping a close watch on what happens over the next few months, and into 2017.

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