Facebook, as hard as it might be to believe, is far more interested in you as a potential advertising target than as a user. That’s how the company makes its money, after all — by serving advertisements up to neatly-catalogued eyeballs. So it should come as no surprise that Facebook is going to be introducing a whole lot more ads to videos posted to the social network.
That’s the word according to Re/Code, which cites unnamed “Industry sources” as saying that the social network is going to be testing ads that play mid-stream on Facebook videos. Not just anyone’s videos, though, so you can relax. Facebook isn’t going to be injecting advertising into your personal footage unless you want that to happen.
Instead, video publishers will be able to elect to feature ads part-way through content hosted on Facebook. Unusually, Mark Zuckerberg won’t allow pre-roll videos, of the sort we’re used to on YouTube, on the service. We can sort of see his point though — watchers will be more inclined to sit through an ad if they’re already invested in something they’re watching. Or it could, you know, backfire and the service will be littered with partly-watched videos. We’ll have to see how that works out.
The ads, payment for which will be split between Facebook and publishers (with publishers scooping up 55% of sales), will only run on videos longer than 90 seconds and will only kick in once watchers have passed the 20-second mark. We can be sure that there will be more video than advert at any given time, then.
The company has opted not to comment on the report but has made no secret of wanting to scale up its advertising ambitions. Re/Code points out that so-called “mid-roll” video ads were discussed by Facebook in 2016, with a vague 2017 date for their eventual introduction. So this… isn’t entirely unexpected, even if Facebook won’t confirm it just yet.