Facebook said Friday that it is adding more robust regional targeting options to its Facebook Reserve in-stream video advertising offering, including the social network’s native targeting capabilities, as well as targeting via Nielsen designated market areas.
Facebook Reserve debuted in February 2019 as Facebook Showcase, giving media buyers a way to purchase entire seasons of premium, brand-safe video content curated from high-quality publishers, creators, celebrities and athletes.
Director of North American agency partnerships Erik Geisler said the idea behind Facebook Reserve was to “meet the marketplace where it is. We’re not going to try to do anything too fancy. Meet advertisers and agencies where they already were, and earn our way into that conversation.”
The social network said these new targeting options will be valuable for marketers seeking to run regional campaigns during the coronavirus pandemic, as different states and cities have different social distancing guidelines in place, so an advertiser will not show an ad depicting people at a large gathering, like a concert, to users in areas where those events have not yet been allowed to resume.
According to Facebook, the No. 1 request from TV advertisers since the debut of then-Facebook Showcase has been access to Facebook native targeting, with a focus on interest segments (automotive, back-to-school, luxury goods, parenting), geographical targeting inclusive of DMAs (inclusion and exclusion, states, regions, cities, postal codes) and custom audiences (uploading customer database lists and building lookalike models, or using online signals such as web traffic, engagement or application installs).
Geisler said, “We lean a lot on Nielsen: It’s the industry standard.”
The company called Friday’s rollout a limited release, saying that it plans full availability by the 2021 upfronts.
Facebook commissioned a study with Crowd DNA last October, surveying 3,000 people 18 and older in the U.S. who said they watched publisher videos on the social network at least once per week.
Nine out of 10 respondents said they watch those videos to discover new points of interest, while eight out of 10 do so to connect with people who share common interests.
Speaking of sharing, 94% of respondents said they share publisher videos, with 89% of that group doing so to influence other people’s moods and 82% to inspire others.
As Facebook Reserve begins year two, its viewership base is more than one-half the size of the TV universe in the U.S., with an average of roughly 130 million people 18 and older watching in-stream-reserve-eligible videos every month.
“We’re very proud of that,” Geisler said. “It’s very healthy. We have critical mass. That’s really exciting, and it’s why we’re able to put some of this local targeting in place.”
That audience skews younger, as well, with 38% of viewers of Facebook Reserve videos falling between the ages of 18 and 34, versus 29% of the U.S. TV universe.
Facebook said 27 in-stream reserve campaigns ran between April and October 2018, and their delivery of on-target impressions was more than 2.5 times that of TV, at 98%, compared with 39%. Geisler said Facebook’s identity layer helps it to understand who people are with accuracy.
Facebook Reserve drove 9.3% incremental reach for targeted demographics relative to TV.
And for the coveted 18-through-34 group, 48.5% of total Facebook Reserve reach was delivered to that segment, versus 18.1% for TV.
The social network also found that in-stream-reserve ads drove an average 12.2-point lift in positive ad recall, with 65% of campaigns generating median ad recall lifts at or above their median vertical benchmarks.
A-B InBev added Facebook Reserve to the media plan for the “It’s Only Worth It, If You Can Enjoy It” TV campaign for Michelob Ultra, running the same 15-second spot on the social network as it did on TV.