Facebook to sell real-time Super Bowl ads, taking on Twitter

Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:00am EST
 
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By Jennifer Saba and Alexei Oreskovic

Jan 28 (Reuters) - This Super Bowl Facebook is taking a page from Twitter's playbook, for the first time during a football championship selling ads that target people based on what they are talking about in real time.

These include video ads that will play automatically on Facebook's newsfeed, triggered by key words that members mention in their posts as they watch the American football game on Feb. 1.

Smartphones and tablets provide a second screen for the Super Bowl's 100 million television viewers to comment about the game as it proceeds, giving advertisers a more precise way to target messages.

Twitter is the leader in this arena that other social media networks are seeking to emulate. Mondelez International's Oreo sent out clever tweets when the lights went out during the Super Bowl in 2013, a stunt considered to be a marketing coup.

"Twitter has owned the mantel of being a real-time platform but the sophistication of Facebook's ad targeting is unparalleled," said Noah Mallin, head of social for north America at MEC, a media buying agency that is part of WPP .

"That is a big change."

At last year's Super Bowl, marketers on Facebook could target ads to segments of members based on their likes, profiles and demographic information. Facebook has introduced real-time targeting features since then, and this year the social network, with 155 million daily users in the United States and Canada, will customize audience clusters that advertisers can target in real time during the game.

Maura Tuohy, head of social media at the marketing agency Eleven Inc, said Facebook had to work hard to dispel the notion that people do not use the network while watching live tent pole events. "People are talking about these shows" on Facebook, she said.   Continued...