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Improved Targeting For Facebook Watch: Just The Facts

May 15, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Facebook recently announced upgrades to its Facebook Reserve ad platform, allowing advertisers to access the same advanced targeting tools for video campaigns on Facebook Watch that are used across other Facebook ads. According to AdAge, the new use of targeting tools, like custom audiences, within Facebook Reserve “represents an upgrade to [Facebook’s] video ad product in order to better compete with TV.”

Why Is Facebook Offering Enhanced Targeting For Facebook Watch?

Shutterstock_1169760028 KYRENIA, CYPRUS - SEPTEMBER 1, 2018: Close up view of Facebook Watch icon on the smartphone screen. Facebook Watch is a video on demand service operated by facebook.

Facebook Reserve was initially created to offer advertisers the chance to tap into OTT, by letting advertisers buy ads on Facebook Watch the same way they place traditional TV placements. (Facebook Watch is a mix of Facebook’s original streaming content and short- and long-form video content from outside sources.)

The limits of buying ads for Facebook Watch using the same targeting available for traditional TV (essentially Nielsen demographics) led advertisers to press Facebook to expand the targeting options to be more inclusive of all of Facebook’s capabilities. According to Erik Geisler, Director of North American partnerships at Facebook, advertisers said, “You’re Facebook, you have myriad targeting options, how can we leverage that?” The new Facebook Watch targeting will include more granular geo-targeting and custom audiences.

Why Are OTT Ad Platforms Important To Digital Marketers?

Facebook’s internal numbers indicate there are more than 124 million people watching ads every month that are served through Facebook Reserve. And, Facebook has a bigger hold on the coveted 18-34-year old demographic than traditional TV, with an estimated reach of 39% compared to TV’s reach of 29%. With the new enhanced Facebook Watch targeting, Facebook claims it offers 98% audience targeting effectiveness compared to television’s 39% effectiveness. This superior targeting promises to result in significantly less wasted media spend. 

The audience shift to streaming services combined with advertiser desire to reach narrowly defined audiences is driving advertisers to OTT ad platforms. AdAge reports, “So far, Facebook says it only offers the new advanced targeting to a select few advertisers, and won’t roll it out more broadly until next year. Anheuser-Busch InBev, Intuit and toothpaste brand Pronamel are among the first brands to try it.” Once Facebook Watch enhanced targeting is out of beta, the industry will undoubtedly see more advertisers testing it out.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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