TV Commercials Can Now Trigger Facebook Ads 2 Seconds After They Air

Rob LeathernRob LeathernOptimal’s Rob Leathern

If you’re watching TV and browsing Facebook at the same time, be on the lookout for a scary/impressive new ad format coming your way: Optimal, a social media marketing company, has developed a method of triggering a
Facebook ad campaign within two seconds of the appearance of a TV commercial.

Advertisers could in theory create a “road block” on your sofa — reaching you whether you’re watching TV or ignoring the commercial breaks in favour of Facebook on a phone or tablet.

Optimal is working with a partner that is “watching” thousands of national and local TV channels at the same time, CEO Rob Leathern tells Business Insider, and coding them all as data. If the system recognises an ad, it pushes that data to Optimal, which begins buying ads in FBX, Facebook’s ad exchange.

In theory, advertisers could also use the system to buy counter-ads in Facebook while their rival’s ads were playing on TV.

The first client to sign up is Resolution Media, which handles all of ad agency network Omnicom’s global social ad spend. Leathern says a movie studio, a retailer and a financial services client will also test the system.

The development is interesting because it helps Facebook counter Twitter’s big push into TV advertising. Twitter has launched a number of products allowing advertisers to enhance their TV commercials with simultaneous Twitter campaigns, to take advantage of the way people use Twitter to comment on shows they’re watching.

Facebook is fighting its own fight for TV dollars, mostly by claiming its evening audience is larger and more measurable.

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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