Facebook Introduces Mid-Roll Ads – What To Know

Optimize Retargeting Campaigns, Mid-Roll Ads

Facebook captures 50 minutes of its 1.55 billion monthly users’ attention each day, and since the introduction of Facebook Live, the social network nearly doubled daily video views YoY, serving eight billion video views per day in 2016. In August 2015, Facebook Live was launched, stealing share from Twitter’s real-time video streaming app, Periscope.

In late 2016, Twitter released an update to Periscope that allowed users to broadcast live video within the boundaries of the app for iOS and Android without actually have to install Periscope or create an account – presumably to counterattack Facebook Live’s fluid streaming process. A recent study conducted by Cisco concluded that the trend towards online video consumption will command 80% of global internet traffic by 2019.

The integration of real-time, live streaming has increased user viewing time three times more over non-live, prerecorded video. Since video garners higher user engagement, digital video ad spending in the US reached $9.59 billion across desktop and mobile, with a projected 17% increase in 2017 to $11.25 billion. The digital advertising industry has recognized the efficacy of video ads – especially on mobile – and by 2019, mobile’s share of digital video ad dollars will increase to 47.7%.

According to an eye-tracking studying by Google and Ipsos, YouTube users who DON’T skip over an ad are actually paying attention. Eye-tracking technology confirms that users engage with YouTube ads 84% more than TV ads (although this metric is to be interpreted with a grain of salt since the definition of an audience greatly differs between the two mediums).

For the first time, Facebook announced that the platform will begin beta testing mid-video ads, contriving yet another revenue stream for video producers, allocating 55% of ad sales to the publisher. The mid-roll unit will be presented after 20 seconds during a video that runs for at least 90 seconds or more. Facebook currently recognizes a ‘video view’ as any session where a video is consumed for a minimum of three seconds, so the introduction of the mid-roll ad unit will greatly skew how video views are evaluated.

With the proliferation of fake news that has recently plagued Facebook, this emphasis on engaging videos will hopefully impact the quality of video ads. Unlike YouTube’s ad unit cap of 30 seconds, Facebook is capping the ad length at 15 seconds.

Facebook is evolving into becoming a complete video platform, so the introduction of this new ad format is a logical step towards truly garnering higher funnel brand awareness-oriented advertisers with larger budgets.