It’s a Branded Video Bonanza: Facebook Gets Video Mid-Rolls

Facebook quickly built an impressive video platform. Now, it’s time to cash in.

Facebook will soon begin testing 15-second mid-roll ads on videos, a move that will help monetize its videos. The social network seems to be redefining “mid-roll” here, though. While the format is typically used in long-form premium content in place of standard commercial breaks, Facebook’s mid-rolls will start at the 20-second mark on videos that are at least 90-seconds long. The ads themselves will be no more than 15-seconds long.

The company has previously said it won’t stream pre-roll ads on videos, as YouTube does. The timing couldn’t be better, as mid-rolls are increasingly popular with advertisers: A recent report from online video platform Ooyala showed the use of mid-roll ads is growing, and that they’re taking market share away from pre-roll ads. In early 2015, pre-rolls made up 75 percent of all video ad inventory. By Q3 2016 that dropped to 60 percent thanks to a preference for mid-rolls.

Publishers will get 55 percent of the revenue for mid-roll ads shown on their Facebook videos.

It will be interesting to see how the move will play out. While it could irk some viewers and lead to lower views, it should also encourage publishers to post more valuable videos now that they can monetize them.

One person who was briefed about the Facebook changes ahead of time was Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider. Speaking to Beet TV at CES, he talked about the approach brands need to take to succeed with Facebook video.

“There are two ways that brands are approaching this now. One is to advertise on Facebook, and what they’re finding is that just with our experience you can’t just upload a television ad and put it on Facebook. It doesn’t work. You can’t share it. It’s a different kind of story,” Blodget explained. “So, now we’re starting to see brands experiment with native social video creative, and we’re working with a lot of companies on developing that. Huge opportunity there.”

At the end of the interview, Blodget teased that he was in on Facebook’s new video ad formats. It sounds like there’s more yet to come.

“The other thing that’s happening is Facebook is now designing new units for social video. I’ve been sworn to secrecy so I can’t reveal some of what they’re coming up with, but they’re coming up with some very smart ways which are much more integrated into the storytelling, the same way it is in television,” Blodget said. “I think that will unlock a huge opportunity for brands, and it will enable them to get at the control and scale that they love from television.”

Scroll down to watch the full interview (used with the permission of Beet TV).


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