Revisiting our Facebook Exchange v. standard web retargeting research

Facebook Exchange (FBX) was quite possibly the most significant announcement in the online advertising world last year. Fast forward six months, and we now have over 700 customers running ads on FBX — more than half of the 1,300 or so currently on the exchange. Our customers continue to be thrilled with the performance and it’s certainly becoming an essential channel to include as part of any optimally-effective and comprehensive retargeting campaign.

However, as a retargeting company with access to over 60 ad exchanges and networks, we thought it’d be interesting to see how it stacked up against other retargeting channels. So, we decided to dig deeper. Our findings raised a lot of great questions, so we thought we’d follow up with a bit more information.

First off, people wanted to get a better feel for the mix of advertisers that made up the study. The sample group contained 468 advertisers who were using both standard web retargeting as well as FBX. We have a broad customer base, and the sample from the study is representative of that mix which includes everything from SMBs to mid-market to IR500 brands: advertisers who use our self-service tools to those leveraging our full-service account management team.

From a vertical perspective, since FBX was a new product, we initially rolled it out across customers that had traditionally seen great results in standard web retargeting. Those included sporting goods, apparel, tech, finance, consumer electronics, beauty, BIM and travel verticals. However, as we’re seeing across all inventory sources, many new verticals that haven’t traditionally used retargeting are learning how to leverage their first party data to achieve their marketing goals.

We also had several requests to follow up with ROI data for both standard web retargeting vs FBX.  This raises the question of why we didn’t include ROI as a data point initially – after all, isn’t that the most important metric? Fair point! The reason we didn’t include ROI in the first place is that more than any other data point, ROI is measured in different ways by different advertisers. Some of our customers utilize sophisticated multi-touch attribution models, others still use last-click, and some even rely solely on CPC. Even the expression of the ROI metric varies! Some marketers focus on ROAS, some look at an ROI multiple and some a blended CPA. For that reason, we didn’t feel comfortable making a sweeping statement about ROI across these 468 customers since there was so much variability in how they measure it.

That said, we can draw some general conclusions that we’re comfortable sharing. First off, when we initially looked at FBX ROI during the beta period, we found that advertisers saw a 16x ROI based on a blended attribution model. That stacks up extremely favorable compared to standard web retargeting which typically sees an 8-10X ROI based on the same attribution model. Since the initial beta, we have continued to see extremely strong performance on FBX. In particular, using our dynamic ads product, one apparel client saw a 18% lift in click conversion rate and 2X the conversions overall compared to their static FBX campaign. This is why existing retargeters are implementing at breakneck pace and advertisers new to retargeting are sometimes even starting their campaigns with FBX first. This is evident in the impressions breakdown by month across all of our advertisers where 63% of the impressions are now on FBX vs. 37% on standard display.

ROI Numbers

Since its initial launch last year, we (and most other partners involved in the original beta program) have been vocal about the remarkable results our customers have achieved through FBX. With additional innovations such as dynamic creative, these results have only improved, and the product development is showing no signs of slowing down. We look forward to announcing additional product enhancements that will only take this exciting new channel even further.

Portions of this post originally appeared on FBPPC yesterday.