Facebook Lures TV Advertisers With Option to Buy In-Stream Spots

Facebook has unveiled another change in its quest to siphon off TV ad dollars. Up till this point, video advertisers had to buy a package of spots that included both Newsfeed placement and in-stream ads on longer-form programming. Now, advertisers can buy just the in-stream placements.

The change lets advertisers purchase a more TV-like experience, placing mid-roll ads in premium long-form productions. As recently noted, Facebook is busy creating cable-like programming (such as Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe), and created a Watch tab so members can easily find that content.

The in-stream ads can range from 5- to 15-seconds in length, so there’s no chance of boring viewers with longer 30- or 60-second ads. The social network says its in-stream ads have a 70 percent completion rate. When asked by Variety, it wouldn’t say the completion rate for Newsfeed video ads.

Revenue from in-stream ads is split with the publisher. Advertisers can use Facebook’s advanced targeting tools for demographic buying. However, Facebook won’t allow them to purchase spots on a particular program.

Along with selling in-stream spots for its premium programming, Facebook is selling spots on its Audience Network, which is a collection of third-party publishers and apps.  Facebook in-stream ads run only as mid-rolls, but Audience Network ads can run as pre-rolls or mid-rolls.

To prove the effectiveness of its in-stream ads, Facebook is talking up a successful test run by NBCUniversal in May. NBCU’s rebranding campaign used in-stream ads exclusively, and resulted in an 11-point lift in ad recall and a 4-point lift in message association. It garnered a view-through rate of 83 percent.

“We see a lot of short, on-the-go video consumption in Newsfeed, and longer-form, lean-back viewing on Facebook [Pages] and offsite via Audience Network,” Kate Orseth, Facebook’s product marketing manager for media monetization, told Variety. The ad change was designed “to let agencies and brands drive the most value from their spending.”


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