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Facebook Buys Video Ad Biz LiveRail

Facebook Buys Video Ad Biz LiveRail
By Jennifer LeClaire

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With its LiveRail, Facebook is looking to make a deeper push into video advertising. Video continues to gain in importance for the PC and mobile. Acquiring LiveRail also indicates that Facebook wants to move beyond its own borders into the realm of a broader ad network, said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
 


Social networking giant Facebook is making strong moves in the Web video ad business. The company scooped up San Francisco, Calif.-based ad technology firm LiveRail.

Facebook sees the opportunity. According to market research firm eMarketer, digital video ad spending grew 44.5 percent to over $4.1 billion in 2013 and the firm expects that number to swell to $5.8 billion in 2014. Looking ahead to 2018, eMarketer predicts that figure could rise to $12 billion. Financial terms of the LiveRail deal were not disclosed.

For publishers, LiveRail offers a single interface to manage direct advertiser campaigns and optimize major ad networks, demand-side platforms, and trading desk partners. LiveRail also leverages real-time bidding technology to help publishers monetize video content. And the company’s private exchange capabilities let customers maintain control over who accesses their inventory.

For ad networks, LiveRail offers a real-time video ad serving platform to manage and buy video advertising campaigns. The technology lets users forecast, buy and report on campaigns in private and public video ad exchanges. Using LiveRail technology clients including Major League Baseball, ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion serve better ads in the videos that appear on their Web sites and apps, according to the company.

More Relevant Ads

Brian Boland, vice president of Ads Product Marketing Atlas, said LiveRail helps marketers by giving them access to premium video inventory and the information that they need to decide where to show their ads. He called it a “complete advertising solution” for video publishers.

“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,” Boland said.

“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," Boland added.

Facebook’s Three Goals

We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on Facebook’s latest acquisition. He told us Facebook is looking to do three things with the LiveRail buy.

“The first is a deeper push into video advertising by Facebook,” he said. “Video continues to gain in importance for the PC and mobile. The second is a further embrace of automation and programmatic. And the third is another move by Facebook beyond its own borders into the realm of a broader ad network."

“Facebook will ultimately emerge as a challenger to Google's Display Network -- formerly AdSense -- for third parties,” Sterling said. “It exists in mobile and will exist on the PC. Facebook's own user data will likely inform all these video ads over time on third-party sites. It's very logical for them on multiple fronts.”
 

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