Facebook plots mid-video ads in bid to take on YouTube

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Facebook is reportedly preparing to test "mid-roll" advertising spots in non-live videos, in a move that would finally allowing video publishers to make serious revenue -- if potentially at the expense of turning off some viewers.




Ads will be allowed after the 20-second mark in a clip, and only in videos lasting 90 seconds or more, according to Re/code sources. Facebook is expected to give publishers 55 percent of revenue, identical to the split offered by Google's YouTube.

The company began testing mid-roll ads in live streams last year, but streaming's ephemeral nature likely makes them less profitable, especially since going live can be impractical for many content makers.

Video has become a staple of Facebook's News Feed, often featuring material edited with the social network in mind. Ad revenue has been slight to non-existent for many publishers though, as both pre- and mid-roll commercials have been banned. For the foreseeable future, pre-roll spots will still be off the table.

Publishers like BuzzFeed have been allowed to make videos sponsored by advertisers, but that can also be impractical -- particularly for outlets concerned about maintaining objectivity or creative freedom.

The time limits for mid-roll ads could mark a shift towards long-form video and away from simply racking up as many views as possible. At the moment Facebook logs a view after just three seconds, which poses a problem for advertisers and publishers alike, given that videos typically auto-play in the News Feed even if a person is just scrolling past.

A risk with the new ads is that people will turn to blockers avoid them on the Web, or simply go elsewhere to watch. The issue could become even more acute on devices like Apple's iPhone, since many people have capped cellular data plans that would be taxed even further with video advertising.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Horrible idea.  At what point will we stop being pummeled by a relentless onslaught of advertising?  I think I know.  At the point when we stop watching and visiting the websites with the content containing them.
    fotoformatwatto_cobracommand_fewtheckman
  • Reply 2 of 8
    This is a great way for FaceBook to lose to YouTube.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 975member
    Just more proof to facebook you're the content and the "content providers" are the customers.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,105member
    Ads start after 20 seconds? That's a terrible idea. If you are going to place ads, at least do it before the video starts.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    This is a great way for FaceBook to lose to YouTube.
    Great way for youtube to lose to youtube too, cut my youtube use in half since they went ad mad, could go even lower if this continues to gro3w.
    watto_cobraewtheckman
  • Reply 6 of 8
    …if potentially at the expense of turning off some viewers.

    Potentially? How about the absolute certainty of annoying users?

    It's very annoying. And when you cannot skip ads—which is what advertisers want, and using HTML 5 to play videos on YouTube forces upon you—they become an abomination. I've had 5 minute ads interrupt a 6 minute video, which I could only start watching after suffering through 4 minutes of ad before the video even started.

    So I say, go for it, Facebook. Drive even more users away! Between autoplaying videos in the feed, censoring viewpoints, and now abusive, in-your-face advertising, you should be able to drive everyone back to the real world.
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 7 of 8
    holyoneholyone Posts: 377member
    The real question is who's the idiot who keeps telling advertisers that this actually helps sell products, anyone whose ever bought something this way ? Isn't the only thing it does to annoy any potential customers ? Strange, I wonder how this business really works, what numbers are bieng peddled around, do the people selling the crap only care that you see the crap regardless of whether that results in a sale ? Does no one care about good brand association ?
    yoyo2222
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