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Betfair has appointed Essence as its global media agency as it seeks to capitalise on the agency’s Facebook ad management service.

The betting company said advertising on Facebook had become as important as paid search and plans to increase its volume and spend on Facebook over the next year.

Digital agency Essence is the latest to launch an ad management service, called Papaya, that taps into Facebook’s advertising API. Betfair selected it ahead of other agencies which don’t offer such a service.

Paul Lewis, head of marketing, acquisitions at Betfair, said the company used to manage advertising on Facebook internally but now wanted to increase volume.

“We’ve moved away from internal to Essence because it has the power to do more on Facebook,” he said. “So far our Facebook ads have been working well, so we need more volume. We now see it as another type of pay-per-click media.”

Lewis added that ads on Facebook are successful for betting companies because they can adapt them in real time, allowing them to target people who are posting status updates around particular events or sports.

new media age revealed in February that agencies and brands such as Virgin Media and Vodafone were shifting spend from other channels, such as paid search, to Facebook because it delivered better reach (nma 18 February 2010).

Facebook opened its application programming interface last year to give agencies greater control over the creation, editing and management of campaigns on the social network. Key accounts have already changed hands, including Vodafone’s to TBG Digital (nma 11 February 2010), as brands look to capitalise on the development.

Joseph Leon, associate partner at Essence, said Facebook has become a channel in its own right and, as such, demands its own media planning.

“Given the very tangible results so far, which are similar to using AdWords, we expect almost all of our clients to be running international activity at scale,” he said.

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Published 20 May, 2010 by NMA Staff

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