Facebook Moving in Direction of Self-Serve



In the next few weeks, Facebook is providing Advertisers with the opportunity to buy Premium inventory through API partners and agencies, and via the Facebook Power Editor.   Previously, Premium inventory was only able to be purchased through a Facebook representative on reservation basis (insertion-order) with minimum spend guarantees.  Now, Advertisers will have the convenience to do so online, on a self-serve basis in addition to the current method.

How it Works:

Premium inventory will still be purchased on a tiered CPM basis, but can be done so in real-time, through either Facebook’s Power Editor tool or third party API partners.   There is no longer the requirement to work with a Facebook representative to place the buys unless desired.  Once a credit line for an account has been established, Advertisers can place either Marketplace or Premium buys within the same interface.

Within the self-serve model, agencies will have the ability to apply their own optimization and trafficking skills to Premium inventory.  However, unlike the current Premium offering, impressions will not be guaranteed because of the greater flexibility and control provided with the self-serve model.

This new self-serve Premium option will become available through the same API partners that provide management and reporting tools for Marketplace today.

Resolution POV:

Opening up Premium inventory to be bought on a self-serve basis makes many of the targeting, optimization and reporting tools previously only available for Marketplace now applicable to Premium as well.  While the level of control is not as deep for Premium as it is Marketplace, the flexibility and granularity of management is certainly greater.  Thus, when combined with the fact that the same API partners and Power Editor options will be available for campaign management, as are today for Marketplace, those with experience managing Marketplace campaigns will now be able to extend their expertise to Premium self-serve.  As a result, this change will provide Advertisers more tools to maximize the return on their Premium investment, whether they be branding or direct-response focused.

Further, this announcement opens up the ability to manage both Premium and Marketplace through a single interface and point of contact, which will allow for more cohesive campaign planning, optimization and measurement.  In turn, this should drive deeper insights and stronger campaign performance when both Premium and Marketplace campaigns are in-market together.

Key Benefits:

1)     Deeper targeting capabilities for Premium

  • Most Premium buys are managed to demographic (age, gender, location) and broad category targeting.  Agencies will now be able to manage Premium in a way that is more similar to Marketplace, leveraging more granular targeting.

2)     Makes Premium buying more flexible and real-time

  • Lag times are shortened by eliminating the need to go through Facebook representatives.
  • Campaigns can be turned on/off and budgets can be re-allocated based on Advertiser needs or performance as quickly as is needed.
  • Number of creative units is not limited within Premium self-serve, making creative testing easier and faster.

3)     Eliminates barrier to entry

  • Lower minimums are expected for the self-serve product, which enables smaller advertisers to be able to take advantage of Premium buys.

4)     Centralizes Facebook Premium and Marketplace media buying into a single platform and single campaign management team

  • Performance insights can easily be shared across Premium and Marketplace in order to optimize targeting and creative levers more quickly.
  • Provides the ability to optimize budget allocations between the two based on performance.
  • Unified reporting enables better measurement of total Facebook performance.

5)     Improved analytics around cross-channel attribution

  • For Advertisers tracking a conversion event in an application or website, path-to-conversion data will be available across Premium, Marketplace and Paid Search when managed through a single third party API platform that supports all three channels.

Points of Consideration:

1)     Pricing will remain consistent as a fixed CPM (estimated to be consistent with previous pricing)

  • As opposed to the CPC option available via Marketplace self-serve.  Thus, Premium still may not be the right product for all Advertisers or campaign types depending on the Advertiser’s goals.

2)     More competition

  • Opening up Premium inventory to smaller Advertisers may result in greater competition for these placements.  This could potentially cause pricing adjustments/increases in the future.

3)     As seen with Marketplace management tools, API partners will have varying degrees of ability to manage these buys and integrate the data when the product launches.


Opening up Facebook Premium inventory to API partners and agencies on a self-serve model creates the opportunity for more centralized management of overall Facebook campaigns.   It also takes a step in the direction of putting more control in the hands of Advertisers, and agencies working on their behalf, to drive campaign results.

Overall, managing and measuring Facebook campaigns holistically should provide a deeper understanding of how all Facebook ad units and placements work together.  Real-time results and optimizations across either or both Premium and Marketplace will make for stronger overall buys and create deeper, more meaningful insights.