The broadcast and cable TV industries have long dreamed of so-called “addressable TV.” That is: TV ads that can be customized or more precisely targeted on the basis of demographics or location. Not counting something like YouTube, there were and have been multiple initiatives to accomplish this over the years.
None have really succeeded — until perhaps now. The first truly scalable targeted TV ad solution, it appears, will soon be available through Facebook according to a Bloomberg Report.
The article says that 15-second TV-like video ads will soon be shown on Facebook “later this year.” It will cost advertisers as much as $2.5 million a day.
On the recent Facebook earnings call COO Sheryl Sandberg remarked that very little brand advertising dollars currently go to Facebook and this is an area of potentially huge growth. Indeed. TV ads are “tried and true” from an agency and brand perspective. And Facebook’s very sophisticated targeting will offer added benefits not matched by traditional TV.
Twitter is also aggressively going after traditional TV and brand advertisers; however its offerings are more of a complement than a replacement for conventional TV. This would probably become true of Facebook video ads as well.
Bloomberg says that Facebook has built-in controls so that no individual sees an ad too many times (Facebook will have to take great pains not to annoy users). Not reported, however, are details regarding how and where ads would be shown on the social site.
Would they be only on the right rail or would they appear as units within the News Feed? In all likelihood they would appear in the News Feed, which would allow them to equally receive mobile distribution.
Facebook is currently engaged in a program to simplify its advertising options. However the company is also trying to appeal to brand advertisers and big agencies with new options and products. The notion that brands can simply take existing TV assets and port those over to Facebook (with enhanced targeting options) will be highly appealing.
However to fully utilize Facebook’s targeting marketers will eventually want to produce multiple versions of the same spot for different audiences. Much remains to be seen but this move could eventually add billions in new revenue to Facebook’s bottom line and give the company an advertising product that truly appeals to the Fortune 100.