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Mid-Roll Video Ads Come to Facebook


All too soon, Facebook will weave advertisements into videos hosted on the social platform, creating a previously unavailable revenue source for advertisers. Ads will be shown in a mid-roll format, interrupting videos after 20 seconds of playtime. These 15-second ads will only be allowed for videos that are at least 90 seconds long.

The unusual format has been in testing since August of last year, solely during Live broadcasts. Operating similarly to Twitch, Facebook's mid-roll ads punctuated live streams.The reception of these ads must have been encouraging as Facebook has plans to insert mid-roll ads in non-Live videos this year. Dan Rose, VP of partnerships for Facebook, told Poynter: "Next year, we're going to be looking at ways to apply the ad break model to regular videos on Facebook, videos that are no live."

To start, Facebook will offer the same deal as Youtube, selling ad space and splitting the revenue with video publishers. Publishers will receive 55% of all sales, reports Recode. On Monday, three people told Marketing Land that Facebook began reaching out to "agencies about the new ad slots' availability in Facebook's ad buying tools." Advertisers buying a video ad campaign on Facebook will find that mid-roll ads are enabled by default, labelled In-Stream Videos. Some brands may choose to opt out of mid-roll ads because, as one agency executive told Adage, "you don't have control over where the commercial shows up." A valid concern as Facebook Live has been ground-zero for live-streaming national tragedies. However, publishing sources familiar with the new ad format have stated that publishers are able to control what categories of advertisers are allowed to run or can turn ads off entirely if desired. If a publisher wants to include humorous ads, they need only specify. The same goes for avoidance; simply specify that mature ads are not allowed. 

This is unhappy news for users who have long ago accepted pre-roll advertisements: 



Prior to the inclusion of mid-roll ads, video publishers producing content for Facebook had no opportunity to accrue capital from their creations. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a relatively novel move, forbade Facebook from prefacing videos with the standard pre-roll ad as he believes they lessen the viewing experience. In fact, advertisements were altogether absent from videos hosted on Facebook. The glaring lack of advertisements meant that publishers received little or no ad revenue. With no promise of a monetary return, many Facebook publishers abstained from creating quality content to host on the social platform.

To combat the lack of revenue Facebook began placing promoted videos in the 'Suggested Videos' section, splitting the revenue with media partners. This yielded fractions of a penny per video view, said publishing executives. Just last year, after BuzzFeed executives voiced their complaints, Facebook allowed video publishers to create videos sponsored by advertisers. BuzzFeed's Tasty unit has garnered quite a bit of revenue in that regard.

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When Facebook first threw its efforts into video, sometime in 2014, it didn't take long for the new media to gain popularity. As has been proven time and time again, when Facebook decides that something is going to be successful, it takes off, as  was the case with live video recently. Over time, video was seamlessly integrated into Facebook. Publishers began to create videos specifically for the platform, inserting subtitles in order to grab audience attention as they scroll past muted videos. The number of videos posted per person has increased by 75% in 2015, not surprising considering that videos have a 135% greater organic reach over still photos. As of 2016, Facebook has reported an average of 8 billion videos watched per day by users. 

It isn't easy at the top, lording over the masses in a way that seems at once demurring and powerful. Sharing the title of top dog is even more difficult; just look at the rivalry between Facebook and YouTube. YouTube has long been the leading platform for videos, hosting a variety of colourful personalities and making serious bank off of video advertisements. Facebook, on the other hand, has abstained from allowing advertisements to sully their videos. But no more. 



Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver). Follow her @Songbird_Jacqui


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Mid-Roll Video Ads Come to Facebook Reviewed by Jacqueline Litvan on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 Rating: 5

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