Facebook Acquires LiveRail, What it Means for You

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

facebook-ad-optionsOn the balance, 2014 has been a good year for Facebook marketers. The social media giant made a lot of changes to their ad platform (like ending automatically promoted content), but opened up new marketing channels on mobile devices and apps. Advanced targeting tools have made it easier than ever to reach certain demographics. And even though Facebook has reduced the organic reach of business pages, the data suggests that business pages have seen higher engagement rates as a results. It appears the good times will only get better because Facebook recently announced a partnership with LiveRail, a leader in video advertising.

Facebook’s acquisition of the seven-year-old tech firm is a big deal for marketers and Facebook itself. LiveRail is responsible to the technology that determines the advertising content of such media powerhouses as Major League Baseball (specifically, MLB.com), ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion (a popular alternative to YouTube). Facebook’s will pay nearly half a billion dollars to acquire LiveRail, but the social media giant has exponentially increased the versatility and reach of their advertising capabilities.

“We’re just getting started with our partnership with LiveRail, but we’re very excited about the future for video publishers and marketers,” wrote Bard Brian Boland, the Facebook Vice President of Ads Product Marketing and Atlas, in a blog post announcing the acquisition. We believe that LiveRail’s excellent product – known in the industry as a video supply-side platform or SSP – and Facebook’s expertise with relevancy, delivery and measurement will help us make video advertising much better for everyone.

According to TechCrunch, LiveRail sends out more than 7 million video ads a day, but they are far from just another video advertising service (or a really big one). The most important factors are technological. LiveRail has a real-time bidding platform that can dynamically search its massive database of ads across the various publishers it works with, and choose the best ad for the given bid. This is an invaluable tool as Facebook takes huge strides into new realms of advertising. They will need a system this robust to help them manage demand.

Additionally, LiveRail has Checkpoint technology for making sure ads for alcohol, tobacco, and other age-limited products don’t get shown to minors. This is important because it is necessary for compliance with laws for online advertising and child protection. Even more amazing, LiveRail’s data management system predicts fluctuations in the number video ads to help marketers plan their campaigns, and give helpful reports that show what kind of content is driving companies the highest rates.

“We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month, the blog post continued. “More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too. Publishers will benefit as well because more relevant ads will help them make the most out of every opportunity they have to show an ad.”

The acquisition of LiveRail is big news for Facebook and great news for marketers who rely on the platform to reach their target audience. Buying LiveRail immediately gives Facebook access to some of the most important marketing channels online (not controlled by Google) along with advanced technologies that will ensure Facebook has the infrastructure they need to make the most of what will be a high demand for video ads through the service. Along with recent news about Facebook’s growing ad network and the success of App Links, there will be a lot of good times ahead for Facebook marketers.

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