Facebook Buys LiveRail to Grow Its Video Ad Business

Platform serves publishers like MLB, A+E

Facebook is buying video ad platform LiveRail and giving it control of a network that powers advertising for high-profile publishers—online and on mobile. LiveRail delivers video ads to websites and apps for Major League Baseball, A+E Networks and Dailymotion, among other properties.

"LiveRail also helps marketers by providing them with access to premium video inventory and the information that they need in order to decide where to show their ads," Facebook said in its announcement. "What LiveRail ultimately offers is a complete advertising solution for video publishers."

Facebook already offers what it calls a premium video ad product on its network. Last year, it launched video commercials that automatically play in users' News Feeds, and it has been competing heavily for digital video ad dollars against places like Google, Twitter, AOL and Yahoo.

One of the growing concerns of marketers is the quality of video inventory, making sure the ads are properly seen, fully measured and that they reach the intended audience. Finding trusted sources is becoming ever more crucial for the industry and an area in which companies like Facebook and Google feel they have an advantage.

"We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month," Facebook said.

With a video ad network like LiveRail, Facebook can apply its audience data to targeting ads to other properties. The social network’s next area for growth appears to be outside of its own confines. For instance, this year it launched the Facebook Audience Network to power ads on partner apps.

LiveRail says that it delivers 7 billion video ads a month.

"Our platform sits at the heart of the video advertising ecosystem," LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne said in his company's announcement today.

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