The new ads, called ‘Premium Video Ads’ have been designed in the same manner as ad spots on television, but would be created to play automatically without sound. The initiative is set to provide wealthy advertisers with access to the broadest groups of users of the social networking site, at specified times in the day.
The video ad is essentially an ad that lasts for a duration of 15 seconds, and plays automatically when it appears in member’s news feeds. They play without sound, however, so that members are not interrupted in their activity. Members can then choose to scroll down, or tap the ad to expand it into a full – screen video view with sound. Facebook said that these ads suited those marketers with a view to engage large audiences with “sight, sound and motion.”
Facebook began testing these video ads at the end of the year 2013, in December. Following a trial run of the ads which is a period of three months, the social network is all set to gradually introduce the 15-second video ads to its 1.23 billion strong user base. Premium Video Ads are thus being progressively integrated into member’s accounts.
Members of Facebook can expect to see these ads in their news feeds in both web and mobile formats, over the course of the next few months. The move has been carefully calculated to avoid annoying the site’s users by cluttering their pages with unwanted material.
With this, marketers would be able to choose one or many time slots in a day, for their ad. They would also be able to effectively target ads to members according to the latter’s gender and age.
Facebook also added that the price that these marketers would have to pay to the company to run their video ad would be determined by the audience size, a factor that would be measured by measurement firm, Nielsen.
Though Facebook did not disclose the ad rates, online reports indicated that daily ad spots targeting a wide group of members at ‘prime times’ or times of estimated high traffic, could cost marketers anywhere from 1 to 2.5 million dollars per day.
Facebook has made it clear, however, that the video ads would be available only to a selected group of advertisers. The company has been working with the limited number of these marketers for some months now.
The company would allow more marketers to run ads too, provided they were satisfied that the ads were of a quality that was in congruence with Facebook’s standards. They stated that this was to ensure the maintenance of high-quality ads on the site, and to help the advertisers know how consumers interacted with the ads, in order to maximize their ‘return on investment’.
However, unlike the other existing ads on Facebook, Premium Video ads would be assessed for creative quality before they made their way to the user’s news feeds. The criteria for review of ads included its watchability, meaningfulness and ‘emotional resonance.’ The scrutiny of these premium ad spots would be done by Facebook in partnership with video analytics firm Ace Metrix.
The initiative is said to be part of Facebook’s mission to make advertisers view it as a better medium than television for reaching target audiences. The social network is thus looking to grab revenue from highly profitable television marketing budgets. The growth in this market would, in the long term, potentially be a threat to traditional television networks.