Part of Facebook’s new year plans include testing new mid-roll ads format, which allows publishers to insert ads in the middle of the videos you watch.
Video publishers will be given the chance to include ads once people have viewed their content for at least 20 seconds. This gives the publishers more incentive to create longer videos, which can increase their chances of making more money.
Just like YouTube, Facebook seeks to monetize videos and give publishers 55 percent of all sales from the ads they sell. If this model works out, video publishers will finally have a method to gain actual revenue by posting their content on the social media website.
The offer doesn’t include any pre-roll ads, but publishers will be given a cut of ad revenue generated with ads that play between videos.
Facebook says that its users watch 100 million hours of video every day. The company has invested heavily into growing video views; it is paying select publishers to use its live streaming service, and recent tweaks in Facebook’s apps are meant to simplify video discovery.
Industry sources say the company has been testing the ads that run in the middle of videos for its live-streaming product, Facebook Live, but the new effort would extend that program into regular videos.
While publishers have devoted more resources to producing videos for Facebook, the long-term business model has been largely unclear, particularly because the company has vowed to avoid YouTube-style pre-roll video ads.
This wouldn’t be the first time Facebook has opened up a revenue-sharing program with publishers. In addition to Instant Articles, Facebook’s year-and-a-half-old Suggested Videos program shares ad revenue with publishers whose videos are watched in the same recommended video carousel as a video ad, so long as the ad is watched too. But that program hasn’t exactly been a moneymaker for publishers.
Publishers have however been making money by posting “branded” videos on behalf of marketers, which Facebook permits if the publisher marks those videos as such.
For the past few years, videos on Facebook have steadily increased in number, and because of the wide popularity of the medium, companies find it advantageous to simply put their content on the site and link them to their own external websites. These websites will then utilize ads that net the companies their online revenue.
For advertisers the mid-roll ads, will be enabled by default when buying a video ad campaign on Facebook. Their placement will be labeled “In-Stream Videos,” and advertisers will have to uncheck the placement if they don’t want their ads to run in the middle of publishers’ videos.
In addition to the normal Facebook targeting options, advertisers will be able to pick categories of videos in which they want their ads to run, such as sports or humor, and they can specify categories they want to avoid, such as “debated social issues,” “mature audiences” and “tragedy and conflict.”
So be prepared because next time you watch a video on Facebook, your viewing might be interrupted by mid-roll ads.