(Reuters Pictures/Baz Ratner)
Facebook has confirmed it is launching a new product that lets advertisers buy Facebook ads in a similar way to how they would buy TV commercials, in the hope of unlocking big advertiser spend.
In July, Business Insider revealed that Facebook had caved to advertisers to let them buy Facebook video ads the way they used to in the 1950s: by using Gross Rating Points (GRPs.)
GRPs have been used for TV ad planning and measurement since the 1950s. GRPs are also used for all sorts of other "traditional" advertising, like radio, print, and billboards. It's a way to measure the reach and frequency of an ad campaign among an advertiser's target audience.
On Sunday evening, ahead of the opening of the annual Ad Week New York trade event, Facebook announced the launch of "TRP (Target Rating Point) Buying." These are Facebook's version of GRPs for video ads on its platform.
Now, marketers can plan campaigns across TV and Facebook with a total "TRP," buying a share of those directly with Facebook. Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings division will measure how well Facebook's ads perform alongside TV spots.
In TV, 1 GRP is equal to 1% of the target audience the advertiser wants to reach (not the total number of people who see the ads.) and the GRP goes up depending on the frequency that ad is shown. For example, if a TV program has an average GRP of 10, and an ad is placed on 5 episodes of that program, the campaign has 50 GRPs. The aim for advertisers is to get the highest possible GRPs at the lowest possible cost.
Back in July, ad buyers told Business Insider that introducing a GRP-like metrics would stop Facebook being "unpicked" from the overall media plan by being placed alongside TV rather than being put in a separate, smaller online video section, which should open up more advertising revenue for the social media site.
However, some agency execs were more skeptical and said Facebook should continue talking the language of digital.
While Facebook has a huge audience of more than 1 billion users, advertising spend on the internet still lags behind TV advertising. It wants to close that gap.
Media planning and buying agency Mediavest has been trialing the TRP Buying tool with clients like Heineken.
Donna Sharp, SVP of digital and innovation at Mediavest, said: "The tool offers Mediavest teams integration with the same metrics and systems we apply to TV and cross-screen Video planning but additionally security in delivery. We look forward to rolling out this tool against additional clients after successful tests across brands."
Facebook says its video ads and TV ads complement each other. A Facebook-commissioned study conducted by Nielsen of seven ad campaigns showed people exposed to both TV and Facebook (compared to those who just watched TV ads) demonstrated a 3.2 percentage point increase in ad memorability, an 11.5 percentage point lift in brand linkage, and a 22.7 percentage point increase in likeability linkage.
But the blog post also suggests how Facebook is planning to steal a chunk of TV ad budgets too. It details a separate Nielsen study of 42 campaigns, which found that Facebook impressions were "two times more likely to hit their target audience than TV impressions."
More Facebook announcements for Madison Avenue
In addition to unveiling TRP Buying, Facebook is also making three other announcements at Ad Week New York this year:
Brand Awareness Optimization. From October, Facebook will begin testing allowing advertisers to optimize their ads to target the audiences most likely to recall them.
Mobile polling. Facebook has partnered with research company Millward Brown digital to allow advertisers to poll audiences on mobile about their ads on Facebook and Instagram. Earlier this year, Facebook first launched mobile polling with Nielsen as a partner.
Videos in a carousel format. Facebook first launched its "carousel" ad format last year, which allows users to swipe horizontally to see multiple images and links from a single advertiser. Video ads in this format will begin rolling out this week.
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