Facebook knows its video content is an area ripe for growth and increased revenue. In recent months, the social media giant has been testing and announcing updates that will alter how users view video content, and how advertisers benefit from video delivery.
Today we’ll check out a few specific updates, and talk to advertisers about finding the sweet spot for their ad content.
Updates to Facebook Video Delivery
In February, Facebook announced several updates to the way it delivers video content to users, calling it a move to make Facebook video more engaging and flexible.
Automatic Sounds in Newsfeed Videos
Historically, videos in the Facebook newsfeed played automatically, but without sound. Users simply tapped on the video to hear it. Now, videos will play with the sound automatically on, and fade in and out as they come on screen and users scroll.
To not automatically hear videos, users must either silence their phone or switch the feature off in settings.
Larger Format for Vertical Videos
Vertical videos fit well onto the newsfeed layout most people see on their smartphones, and users seem to prefer viewing videos this way. So, Facebook has updated vertical videos to expand to the full screen and include a progress bar and thumbnail. This update is available to iOS and Android users.
Continued Watching While Scrolling
Users sometimes want to keep a video going while scrolling through their feed. Now, videos can be minimized and dragged to any corner of the screen for continued watching as you scroll. On an Android device, users can keep the picture-in-picture view even after exiting the Facebook app and doing other things on the phone.
Facebook Video App for Television
Expanding on the ability to stream Facebook videos to a television, this new app allows users to engage with videos the same way they would on a desktop or mobile device. Watch videos from friends and pages, videos that you’ve saved or are recommended to you and more.
At first available for Apple, Amazon and Samsung smart televisions, the app will soon roll out to other platforms.
Why Advertisers Should Care About Facebook Video Updates
Though the updates are sort of framed as perks for users, advertisers should take note of all the changes Facebook is making to video content; and, the more people consume Facebook videos, the more they become opportunities for advertising.
In fact, Recode recently reported on a new Facebook test of a mid-roll ad format, which lets publishers put ads in videos that are at least 90 seconds long, but only after the 20 second point.
Facebook will share 55 percent of the revenue with the publishers, revolutionizing the kind of money they and their advertisers could make through Facebook video. According to reports, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t allow pre-roll video ads (where ads show before the actual clip), which has hindered revenue growth for advertisers, and kept some publishers off the network.
Now, with the updates to video delivery and ads within those videos, things might look brighter for Facebook video advertisers.
Previous attempts to boost video advertising include advertiser-sponsored videos (think BuzzFeed’s “Tasty” videos) and a separate video section of “suggested videos” with integrated ads. But nothing’s had the impact that mid-roll videos ads hope to have.
An interesting aspect of mid-roll ads is that Facebook seems to emphasize how long users view videos, rather than how many videos they view. In order to get users to that 20-second point where the ad shows, publishers will have to create attention-holding, quality videos, and will likely demand equally impressive quality in their ads.
By late February, Facebook was allowing Audience Network publishers to use in-stream video ads and testing ads in live videos. It’s probably safe to assume that video ads are going to become increasingly visible within Facebook over the next few years.
Getting Started with Facebook Video Ads
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your organization up-to-date on Facebook video ads. Take advantage of the fact that people check their feeds an average of 14 times a day as well as Facebook’s ability to target them across devices by interest, behavior, age, gender and location.
Getting started is easy. Set up your targeting, budget and schedule, then upload a new video or select from your library. Add some simple text that encourages users to watch the video and follow up with video metrics in the Ads Reporting feature.
It’s no secret that Facebook wants to be at the center of all things digital, and is currently focused on branching out its video capabilities to compete with names like YouTube. As an advertiser, you want to be ready to follow Facebook’s lead, and creating stellar video ads is a great way to do just that.