Last week alone, Facebook shut down its last pure programmatic ad exchange FBX, put the final nail in the LiveRail platform, and expanded its Facebook Audience Network, which is a closed platform. These changes, dripped out over months, have put a scare in the ad tech ecosystem of intermediaries that often bid on ad impressions in open exchanges.
“It’s clear that Facebook is going for a totally walled-garden strategy and abandoning all the real-time exchanges,” said Ari Paparo, CEO of ad tech company Beeswax.
Facebook also made changes to the Facebook Audience Network, which sells ads on apps and websites outside the social network but using Facebook user data. Now, Facebook will serve ads on outside properties to users who aren’t even members of the social network.
As the dominant force in digital media right now, Facebook can afford to flex its muscles. Most of what Facebook is doing with its advertising is a break from how internet ad serving was done on desktop, which, to be fair, evolved as a messy system, but also one open to new companies.
“We’ve seen the air get sucked out of ad tech. Programmatic is still central for any big marketer, but they want programmatic that’s targeted, people-based, and those are all promises ad tech wasn’t built to deliver. Facebook is leading with people-based advertising, and now it’s building scale,” said David Skinner, vp of strategic alliances at Merkle.