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Facebook wants TV ad dollars, so it took a page from YouTube’s playbook — and started behaving like TV.

The company has partnered with Nielsen to launch a new ad product called Target Rating Points Buying, which it said will enable buyers to plan, buy and measure campaigns that span both TV and Facebook. Now, advertisers can plan a campaign with a total TRP target in mind and then buy a share of those TRPs directly with Facebook. Then, Nielsen will verify delivery on Facebook as well as on Facebook and TV combined. With the move, Facebook is positioning itself as the perfect mobile complement to TV.

“Consumers have choice all the time, but they want to experience it on their own terms and increasingly so on mobile,” said Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp of global marketing solutions, during an Advertising Week session. “Does this mean TV is gone? Absolutely not.”

Instead, Everson said people are increasingly multitasking, with the time they spend watching TV and on their mobile devices overlapping.

Mobile is also increasingly where Facebook users are watching video, as now 75 percent of the 4 billion views Facebook generates every day are happening on mobile, according to Everson.

All of which is to say Facebook has become a vital part of many video viewers’ daily video habits — half of the people in the U.S. are watching at least one video on Facebook every day, Everson added.

And as a result, it’s also an effective marketing vehicle for advertisers, especially TV buyers who want to boost their campaigns. According to a Nielsen study commissioned by Facebook, when measuring 42 ad campaigns in the U.S., when TV and Facebook were both used, advertisers saw a 19 percent increase in targeted reach versus when it was just a TV campaign. When millennials were the target, incremental reach increased to 37 percent.

With that said, TV marketers haven’t fully embraced Facebook video, largely because it has been more difficult to buy video on social platforms like Facebook and YouTube than it is to buy TV. TRPs are meant to make it easier — even if the product itself is mainly a “repackaging” of Facebook’s existing video offering in a way that makes it easier for advertisers to understand and measure the reach of their video ads, according to Peter Sloterdyk, director of social media for Deep Focus.

“They’ve been hearing for years from advertisers that their offerings are over-complicated,” said Sloterdyk. “For Facebook to introduce this, the impetus was simplification — speaking the language that’s already there.”

Facebook’s rival in online video, YouTube, has been addressing this “language” problem directly as well. Last year, it rolled out Google Preferred, which reserves the top 5 percent of channels on the platform for big advertisers and lets them make ad buys using Nielsen ratings data, demographic targeting and audience guarantees.

“YouTube and Facebook have both felt the pressure to act more like TV advertisers,” said Sloterdyk. “Because the question keeps getting asked: ‘What is this in comparison to a TV buy?’”

Google has said Preferred has been a success so far. Facebook hopes for the same, though it has a few key advantages over YouTube. “Targeting capabilities on Facebook are more advanced than what we have access to on YouTube,” said Sloterdyk. “[Google Preferred] is a viable offering … but it’s not as cut and dry as what Facebook has offered.”

But Facebook’s move does speak to a larger trend in digital advertising. You can be as big as you want, but for now at least, you’re going to need to speak the language of the oldest guys in the room.

Which means, yes, advertisers can now also — for the first time — call Facebook to buy media.

Image via Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

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