"We can confirm that we are part of the Facebook Exchange RTB beta program," said Optimal CEO Rob Leathern. "We're excited that this opportunity will extend the reach of our [RTB] platform to harness the quality and scale of Facebook, while continuing to leverage our proprietary targeting data and tools."
Numerous sources tell us Facebook's internal process for vetting and approving new FBX partners has been catch-as-catch-can. Facebook allows companies to submit requests for RTB approval, but getting vetted and approved is partly based on who you know and partly on serendipity. To date the only agency name on the list is Xaxis, the programmatic buying unit within WPP's GroupM media agency network.
One other noteworthy change relates to how marketers will be notified of their RTB options. Advertisers navigating Facebook's PMD directory for approved vendors may already have noticed a new check box under the Facebook Ads API (as opposed to the Insights, Apps, or Pages badge qualifications).
Called "FBX Through Real-Time Bidding," the item suggests Facebook appears to think of the FBX offering – at least for now – as a subset of its Ads API badge. However that may not be the case. A spokesperson tells us, "We consider the FBX program to be separate from the Ads API program."
Checking that box reveals (0) PMDs, but it stands to reason Facebook will display a result there before long.
Marketers and ad vendors know by now not to get too comfortable with one way of doing things on the Facebook platform. Within the last three months the platform has seen numerous significant changes to the ad offering – including ads in mobile, the Facebook Exchange, Premium ads in the API, mobile ads in the API, ad targeting to non-fans in the news feed, and others. Partners often describe the pace of experimentation as relentless and say it's difficult to keep up.
Whether to offer RTB/FBX buying under the Ads API program or through its own separate designation is likely just one more thing Facebook may choose to decide (and then change) on the fly.