Facebook to sell premium ad placement through Ads API, Power Editor

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By Brittany Darwell Comments

Advertisers will be able to buy premium ad inventory — on the home page and within News Feed — through the Ads API and Power Editor tool rather than working directly with a Facebook ad representative, the social network tells us.

Although the functionality is not yet live, this could allow third-party ad companies like AdParlor, Buddy Media and TBG Digital to continue to serve high profile clients who want more prominent ad placement that wasn’t previously available through the API. It also means Facebook may be able to better scale its premium advertising product without having to greatly expand its own staff.

Many advertisers feel Facebook does not have enough employees taking the time to address their individual business needs. The competition among third-party providers may lead these companies to be more attentive and an increasingly ideal alternative to working with Facebook directly. According to the Preferred Marketing Developer directory, there are 44 companies with access to the Ads API. The Power Editor, a self-serve desktop tool with advanced functionality, is available to some advertisers who request it from a Facebook representative.

In February, Facebook announced new premium ad offerings, including mobile Sponsored Stories, Reach Generator and logout ads. At the time it was unclear how this would affect third-party ad services and software providers, who only had the ability to buy ads that ran within Facebook’s right-hand sidebar. We do not have details on whether all of these premium options will be available through the API or Power Editor, but Facebook tells us it is working on this with developers and agencies now.

[Update 5/23/12 4:16 p.m. - Facebook confirms to us that it will only give third parties access to premium homepage ads within the feed and right rail, not mobile inventory. Logout placement and Reach Generator services will also still need to be managed by a Facebook representative. Since these are newer offerings, the social network is likely looking to manage these ads more carefully.]

Example premium placements soon to be available through the Ads API and Power Editor:

Note that page-post ads such as the one below are only eligible to be shown in the News Feed of users who already Like the page running the ad or who have a friend that does. Ads in the sidebar can be shown to users who do not Like the advertiser’s page or have any other social connections to the brand.