Facebook Partners With Rovi

Optimal works with Civolution to identify TV ads and buy real-time marketing messages in social site's newsfeed

Facebook users parked in front of their TVs may increasingly notice an eerie coincidence: A startup says it has a way to serve ads in the social site’s newsfeed that will in less than 2 seconds after a commercial for the same advertiser appears on television.

The company, social advertising firm Optimal, is not disclosing which advertisers it has worked with on the Facebook-TV synchronization capability. It recently conducted a test with an unidentified entertainment company, which was promoting an upcoming launch.

According to Optimal, the test found that Facebook newsfeed ads synced in real-time to TV broadcast spots were clicked on 60% more often than Facebook ads there weren’t. (It didn’t say what the overall click-through rates were, but those are typically in the low single digits.)

In addition, Facebook ads served by an advertisers while a competitive brand’s ad aired on TV saw a 35% click-through lift compared to the control group.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Is Sharing TV Chatter with Networks, But What Does It Really Mean?

Facebook estimates between 88 million to 100 million of its users actively use the service during primetime TV hours (though there’s no indication of how many of those are actually watching TV).

“With tens of millions of Facebook users logging onto the platform during primetime hours there is a tremendous opportunity to break through clutter and amplify TV commercials with a timely and direct advertisement on Facebook.” Optimal CEO Rob Leathern said.

In a similar vein, Twitter, which is preparing for an initial public offering next month, is selling TV networks and advertisers a service that delivers sponsored tweets targeted to Twitter users based on the factors that indicate they’re watching a specific program.

Separately, Facebook is gearing up to launch 15-second targeted video ads that would appear in users’ newsfeeds. The reported asking price: up to $2.5 million per day.

Optimal is using Civolution’s ad-triggering service, SyncNow, which currently monitors ads in real time on about 130 U.S. TV networks, according to CEO Alex Terpstra. The company monitors a total of about 1,300 national and local channels.

SyncNow “listens” for which TV network a user is watching; that information is passed to Optimal’s real-time bidding platform to automatically buy ads via the Facebook Exchange (FBX) service within 2 seconds of when the ad spots airs on TV, according to the companies.

Founded in 2008, Optimal was acquired this month by Brand Networks, a provider of social software solutions and digital marketing services, for $35 million. Optimal, based in San Francisco, provides real-time ad buying and analytics for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The startup recently won the grand prize in Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developer Innovation Competition.

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