POV: TV-Sync Facebook Ads

MINDSHARE POINT OF VIEW – On the 23rd of October Civolution announced a partnership with Optimal to enable brands to purchase Facebook ads from the FBX in synchronization with TV commercials. This development comes as Facebook and Twitter are seen to be vying for superiority as the destination of choice for audiences looking to talk about their favorite TV shows, whilst also seeking to maximize revenues from advertising related to TV. To date Twitter has had a big advantage in that it offers an ad targeting option that can help brands reach the same viewer twice, firstly on TV, but also on Twitter.


The technology that is powering this service is Civolution’s ad-triggering service, SyncNow, which has been integrated with Optimal’s Open Signals platform.

SyncNow is an ACR (automatic content recognition) solution which is linked to one of the largest commercials databases in the world. Open Signals enables advertisers to synchronize their Facebook advertising campaigns with multiple outside data feeds such as offline revenue, inventory levels, weather conditions or coupon redemptions. Brands can then optimize their ads in real-time based on metrics that are affecting actual business performance. The partnership enables brands to select which television ads they would like to synchronize with (whether it be their own or competitors) in real-time to a Facebook ad campaign.

Following the announcement of this new product brands will now be able to buy ads that will reach people on the social network at the same time as their ad is showing on television. For brands concerned about the challenge that companion devices pose to viewer attention of both TV programming in advertisements, the announcement of this product is significant. To re-connect with those audiences who find themselves focusing more and more on their 2nd screen during commercial breaks, TV synced advertising on these devices provides a tangible opportunity to yield higher engagement levels and greater return on total ad spend.

At this stage this approach cannot be considered as refined as the one available on Twitter because no Facebook data is integrated and therefore there is no definitive evidence that users are actually talking about a show. Nevertheless for the time being, reaching someone who is potentially watching TV but not fully engaged is still an appealing proposition and this is a situation that Facebook is likely to be monitoring closely in terms of shaping their evolving ad suite offering.


From the initial results published, the benefits for brands of supplementing programmatic buying with TV content identification are evident. The pilot program of this targeting methodology found that where Facebook News Feed ads were synced in real-time to TV broadcast spots, they experienced over 60% lift in CTR, whilst ads synced to competitor ads saw over 35% lift in CTR when compared with a control group. This approach could in the near future prove to be the go-to tactic for deploying high value tactical Facebook buys around contextually relevant TV content.