Facebook said to be launching platform for real-time ad bidding

Facebook is planning to debut a service, Facebook Exchange, that will allow the company to more effectively target ads to customers, Bloomberg reported today.

The service, which is expected to deploy in the coming weeks, provides real-time bidding on ads, which means advertisers can reach users based on their browsing history, Facebook spokeswoman Annie Ta told Bloomberg. This is similar to what other Web companies, like Google, use to target their ads.

Facebook already targets its ads based on what users do on its site, but real-time ads allow advertisers to target people by tracking their activities on other Web sites via cookies — temporary stores of information, typically used to retain information from session to session. The cookies let vendors know which sites users visit, and then display ads with similar subject matter on a user’s page.

The social network has already started placing cookies on browsers, and there is no way to opt-out, but outside vendors are expected to provide users the change to block cookies, Ta told Bloomberg.

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Prices will be based on cost per thousand views, and the ads will be sold through third-party partners, according to the report.

CNET has a message into Facebook and will update when we get more information.

Updated, 5:56 p.m. PT: with more information on the new service, but still no confirmation from Facebook.

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