Essentially, Facebook is acknowledging advertiser demand to inject even more creative variables in a bid response than is possible today. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for more details on its creative optimization plans.
The News Feed expansion, coming so quickly on the heels of the beta, suggests Facebook's exchange has substantially improved its ad yield. It also poses a challenge to social agencies and others for whom the News Feed has been a protected zone. Whereas FBX vendors have, until now, competed mainly with Preferred Marketing Developers plugged into Facebook's Ads API (i.e. ad buying platforms), going forward vendors will bid against campaigns run by the likes of Spring Creek Group, 360i and Deep Focus. These players can no longer breathe easy knowing retargeting demand is confined to the right rail.
Finally, the move could be a stepping stone to FBX ads in mobile, since News Feed ads are Facebook's predominant mobile ad type. Should it flip the switch on FBX News Feed ads in its mobile apps, Facebook could substantially ratchet up the programmatic mobile inventory pool. Not only that, it could overcome the targeting hurdles that exist today in the mobile space (Facebook can identify logged-in desktop users on their mobile device, essentially supporting desktop cookie matching to a mobile device).
For now Facebook is cool to this idea. As a spokesperson told us in March, "Desktop is more in line with what FBX has been doing effectively in the right-hand side. And we also find that desktop is the place where more people convert from seeing direct-response ads."