Facebook Shuts Down $500m Acquisition LiveRail

Alex Spencer

LiveRail-Facebook.gifFacebook has closed down LiveRail, the video ad exchange it bought for a reported $400-500m in 2014.

Following the closure, the social giant will "focus on finding better ways for publishers to sell their ad space directly to advertisers", according to a Facebook spokesperson. It has been a long time coming – back in January, we reported that LiveRail had stopped accepting new customers in order to focus on its private marketplace offering.

"This is what many of our publishing partners told us they wanted, and we believe this will make video ads more relevant to the people who watch them," the spokesperson said.

Following yesterday's closure of desktop ad exchange FBX, it seems fairly clear that Facebook wants to move its ad offering away from the exchange model.

The LiveRail acquisition was based on Facebook's belief at the time that ad exchanges would become the primary source of high-quality inventory, which it now says are rife with ad fraud and actually driving down the price of quality inventory. Going forward, Facebook believes this inventory is being sold through direct publisher-advertiser deals – a need that LiveRail attempted to address with the move to a private marketplace – and through 'verified demand sources' like its own Audience Network, which added video earlier this month.