With LiveRail officially shut down, Facebook has been offering former clients of its ad tech platform a path forward through special partnerships that could keep its broader premium video ambitions alive.
Facebook closed LiveRail last month, leaving a number of customers scrambling for new tech partners to sell their online ads programmatically. But it will still run a legacy LiveRail business, minus the brand name, and has designs for a premium video ad offering for select publishers.
Facebook is looking to forge new deals with some former LiveRail customers, a list that has included the likes of Hulu, A&E Networks and Major League Baseball. One client, who is sticking with Facebook as a kind of experiment post-LiveRail, said the social network hasn’t abandoned programmatic advertising altogether.
“Facebook is looking to come up with ad technology that allows premium publishers to monetize inventory themselves using data and targeting, and it will provide learnings and back-end success metrics,” the client source said.
Former LiveRail customers still have to find new ad tech providers for the bulk of their programmatic video ad sales, which could benefit other players in the space like Freewheel.
Hulu is one of the clients considering not going forward with Facebook post-LiveRail, according to sources.
“Hulu doesn’t want to be beholden to Facebook. They want to have something very custom for them,” an ad tech industry insider said.
In fact, Hulu is partly owned by Comcast, which also owns Freewheel. Facebook declined a request for comment, as did Hulu.
Some of LiveRail’s old customers are adopting a wait-and-see approach to continuing a partnership with Facebook, according to sources.
“Facebook could bring an interesting solution to the table, but it wouldn’t be a direct replacement for the functionality of LiveRail,” said Jennifer Lum, founder of mobile ad platform Adelphic.
LiveRail was among the few platforms used by digital video sites to manage their online ad sales. Publishers typically put some of their inventory up for sale through real-time bidding exchanges, and they sell inventory through premium ad packages sold by their sales teams with a personal touch.
By shuttering LiveRail, Facebook showed that it found the ad tech space flawed, filled mostly with low-quality inventory and infected by fraud. Facebook bought LiveRail for $500 million in 2014.
It came as a surprise to LiveRail customers when Facebook dropped its most core services, and retreated from its major programmatic play. It’s become a trend for the social network, which also shut down the Facebook Exchange and dropped plans for a demand-side platform.
Instead of running ad exchanges or private marketplaces through LiveRail, Facebook is experimenting with giving publishers a way to leverage its consumer data to sell targeted ads. In that scenario, the publisher keeps its sales team, and Facebook just gives them some of the tools they need to make deals.
One publisher described the offering as giving them the ability to target ads as effectively as Facebook itself, pinpointing consumers like auto enthusiasts or families expecting their first child.
Still, publishers are being cautious about how reliant they will be on Facebook to help fill ad space moving forward. “We don’t anticipate it being a ton of inventory moved through these Facebook tool sets,” one former LiveRail customer said.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: What are publishers’ priorities heading into Q4?
Digiday asked publisher professionals what their business priorities will be in the next six months, as economic uncertainty persists and Q4 rapidly approaches.
NBC News, Remezcla drive site traffic through search and social
Remezcla has seen 48% of its Gen Z audience reach the site through search, and for NBC News, Snapchat has become a top-five traffic driver in the last few months.
How A+E Networks cross-promotes podcasts to improve discovery
A+E promotes its podcasts to grow an audience by marketing the shows to its TV audience and finding outside partnerships.
Sponsored<strong>How marketers are responding to shoppers’ wants this holiday season</strong>
Matthew Tilley, executive director, marketing, Vericast With the holidays right around the corner, the economy may force some consumers to adjust their plans and stretch their dollars even further. While some shoppers may rein in their spending, others will still go all out despite a cloudy economic outlook. Given the current economic climate, consumers are […]
Overheard at Dmexco 2022
Ad tech's jamboree in Germany is back IRL after two years with dissenting voices striking a note of caution.
Why IMAX is acquiring AI-driven video company SSIMWAVE
The acquired company provides media and entertainment companies with AI-driven video quality solutions to help minimize image quality issues on streaming services.