Facebook Pre-Roll Video Ads

Facebook has announced their plans to update advertising policies relating to videos. They are planning to introduce six-second pre-roll video ads that will come to dedicated video tabs like the Facebook Watch. However, the short pre-roll videos are unlikely to affect the users’ News Feed.


Even though studies clearly show that users are unwilling to click on videos to watch advertisements, Facebook is willing to check whether the pre-roll videos will work well to strike a happier tone among the viewers and the advertisers.


The pre-roll videos do not work well in the Facebook News Feed section, but are likely to work in Watch because most people visit the place with the intent of watching videos. Some of the changes Facebook is ready to implement will highly affect the News Feed. Seemingly, Facebook is tweaking their algorithm so that videos from both creators and publishers – that users are willing to watch – will appear at the top.


That might help Facebook appeal more to YouTube’s users. Most individuals may stop thinking of the social network when searching for videos because they will have many popular videos in their Facebook account.

How the pre-roll video ads will benefit Facebook

The aim of Facebook is to show more video ads to their users and make money for the individuals supplying those videos. They will sell the ads and give the publishers a share of the earnings – 55% of the sales. That is the same split YouTube, which is currently dominating the online video ads world, offers. If the ads are set off, they might represent an opportunity for video publishers to make real money from their videos that run on Facebook.


Facebook started showing videos to their platform users several years ago. By the year 2016, their users were watching around 100 million hours in a day. Nevertheless, unlike other individuals in the video ad business, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disallowed pre-roll video ads – videos that run before the main clip starts.


That means that even though most video publishers spend considerable resources to build videos, they have not benefited from the videos they show on Facebook. Zuckerberg’s stance discouraged a large number of publishers, including sports leagues, from sharing their content on the social media network.


In 2016, Facebook allowed users to make video clips sponsored by advertisers. That allowed some publishers to generate large amounts of money. According to sources, that was after BuzzFeed executives complained to Facebook’s executives that the videos they posted on the network generated little income.


Earlier in 2015, they had created a video section that allowed video publishers to earn from video ads they posted. They later started testing mid-roll video ads.

The likely impacts of pre-roll video ads introduction

The plan might have a big impact mainly because it includes all types of videos throughout the social media network – most importantly on the News Feed, which is the primary distribution mechanism.


In 2016, Facebook VP Dan Rose, who is the head of the company’s operations, stated that they were planning to expand mid-roll ads by including more video formats. His words showed that Facebook has placed more importance on the number of hours users spend watching videos instead of the number of video clips they watch.


Facebook defines a “video view” as each time an individual watches a video clip for at least three seconds. That is a major source of controversy in the media business, particularly because Facebook plays videos automatically and they immediately show up in a user’s News Feed.


The new pre-roll video ads will only run after a user has watched a clip for more than 20 seconds. They are also likely to appear in the videos that have run for more than 90 seconds. Put differently, Facebook has already informed publishers that they will have to make videos that run for a longer period and maintain the user’s attention if they want to make money.


Facebook is also likely to introduce many rules that will distress publishers. However, the rules will feel like a big win to individuals who get annoyed when a bulk of 120-second video plays automatically and lasts for 30 seconds. The planned algorithm changes suggest that Facebook will forego their massive financing efforts on content generation and instead focus on influencing publishers onto several revenue streams.