The much-anticipated Facebook Exchange, intended to help advertisers target ads at customers who have visited their site, finally launched Thursday and the early indications are it could be a game-changer.

That’s according to Triggit, a real-time media management company that is one of a handful of partners Facebook has worked with in the beta phase of FBX, as the exchange is called. Triggit's analysis of campaigns by Shutterfly and one other client found that FBX:

  • Offered advertisers click-through rates up to four times higher with re-targeted ads and previous online ad exchanges
  • Conversion rates of to 2.2 times higher than previous exchanges
  • Cost-per-click rates that were 6.5 times less, on average, than re-targeted ads and other online ad exchanges
  • Conversion rates 18 percent to 30 percent higher than those of a control group

How It Works

People can expect to see more ads on Facebook for company’s whose sites they have visited. When they visit the site of a brand participating in FBX, a cookie will follow them, marking them for better-targeted ads on Facebook.

Behind the scenes, Facebook's systems pings the advertisers for a real-time bid. If the bid is high enough, the ad is displayed to a cookied person in Facebook's right sidebar. Being in real time, this feature will enable advertisers to deliver time-sensitive ads, which should help with conversions.

And unlike some other ads on Facebook, people can't opt out, according to a June TechCrunch article.

What It Means

If Triggit’s numbers hold up for other brands, it could dramatically alter how Facebook is seen by advertisers. Until now, brands have primarily used Facebook to build awareness, not direct conversions. Those conversions, which FBX might provide, are where the real online advertising dollars lie.