Maurice is not happy—Publicis wants changes to Facebook Exchange

August 30, 2012  |  Jason Del Rey for Advertising Age  |  Comments

When Facebook revealed the names of ad-buying technologies that would have access to the new Facebook Exchange, one notable name missing was Google‘s Invite Media, now known as DoubleClick Bid Manager.

That decision is now putting Facebook at odds with Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising holding companies, whose trading desk uses Google’s technology for much of its targeted ad-buying, Ad Age has learned.

The displeasure has made its way to the top of Publicis with its CEO Maurice Levy getting involved, a person familiar with the situation said. In fact, Levy has brought the issue directly to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, this person said. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for Vivaki, the Publicis division that houses its ad-buying trading desk, would not comment on the talks between Levy and Sandberg but described discussions between the companies as “ongoing and positive.”

In the meantime, Vivaki has turned to other technologies such as Turn, to buy ad space through the Facebook Exchange, two people familiar with the situation said. But Publicis does not see that as a long-term solution and does not like the idea of Facebook dictating which technology it can use to purchase ad space on Facebook.

The impact of Invite’s exclusion, though, extends beyond Publicis. Other agency trading desks, including Omnicom‘s, also use Google’s Invite technology for some targeted ad buying. An Omnicom spokesperson declined to comment.

The Facebook Exchange marks the first time advertisers could target ads to groups of Facebook visitors using their first-party data, as well as third-party data and Facebook visitors’ browsing habits elsewhere on the web. One limitation to buying on the exchange is that buyers can’t use any Facebook data to target these ads. The exchange originally launched with fewer than 10 technology partners, but is now up to 15.

The exchange and Facebook’s strategy for it are just a few months old. The company could simply be taking it slow in terms of adding new partners. Google’s Invite technology could eventually be one of the partners. Still, it is certainly telling that the Google technology, one of the top so-called demand-side platforms, has not been granted access yet, and highlights the wariness that Facebook has of Google’s growing dominance of the pipes that power online advertising.

And Google is finding other ways to get in on the Facebook ad land grab, recently closing a deal for social-marketing firm Wildfire, whose services include placing ads on Facebook for advertisers. Facebook also allows advertisers to serve display ads with DoubleClick’s ad server.

Google is also believed to be in talks with Facebook about the issue. A Google spokesman declined comment.

To read the original article in Advertising Age, click here.

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