- Facebook is allowing video advertisers to run in-stream ads, meaning the spots will run as an interruptive experience akin to a commercial break, according to The Wall Street Journal. With a few exceptions to date, most Facebook video ads have been standalone posts apart from publisher content that consumers choose to engage with.
- Advertisers will be able to specify if they want their in-stream ads to run on Facebook or across the broad spectrum of apps and websites in the Facebook Audience Network, the Journal said. The news also comes right on the tails of the social giant officially announcing its Watch tab for premium, TV-like video content — an initiative that already has over 30 media partners on board to produce original programming.
- Facebook yesterday also announced two updates to fight video clickbait on its News Feed. The company will now demote posts that include fake video play buttons that instead direct users to low-quality websites, as well as spammers using static images that mimic videos to trick users into clicking. The post stated publishers that rely on intentionally deceptive practices should expect the distribution of clickbait stories to "markedly decrease."
Marketers will embrace the ability to place video ads in-stream, a significant update to a platform that has, to date, only really let users engage video ads as standalone pieces of media — an activity many online don't wish to do, as evidenced in the popularity of ad-blocking technology. The news is also key to Facebook's monetization strategy for Watch, a premium video feature it's hinging a lot of its future revenue growth on as ad load growth otherwise continues to slow down considerably on its main platform.
Other platforms like Google's YouTube and also Twitter, which is similarly pivoting to focus on more video content, already offer marketers in-steam advertising products. Watch is a play by Facebook to compete more with YouTube and also Netflix, and the in-stream ads, in replicating a more TV-like commercial experience, open up interesting possibilities for marketers eager to reach Facebook's 2 billion users.
Picking up the fight against clickbait shows that, beyond better monetizing video content, Facebook also wants to ensure its platform has a reputation for legitimacy and propping up an optimized user experience that will keep both marketers and viewers interested. While in-stream and mid-roll ads are sometimes cited as particularly intrusive formats, research from IPG Mediabrands' Magna agency and YuMe released in April found they can be especially memorable and engaging when executed well.