The world's largest social networking site has said on December 14 that it would begin promoting videos more prominently inside its News Feed.
In a break from past practice, Facebook has announced that it will test pre-roll, six-second ads on the videos in its Watch hub and other video-centric areas starting in January. The less bad news is that it looks like they won't be infiltrating News Feed.
Meanwhile, Facebook is investing more money in video. They will also see new episodes of a show if they have watched an earlier episode. In August it created a video service, called Watch, initially with shows from the likes of Vox and Discovery but with plans to let people submit shows as they do on Alphabet's YouTube.
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At the same time, the company said in a blog post that it would update its News Feed algorithm to prioritize videos from Pages that have strong repeat viewership, and roll out the addition of an Ad Break insights tab that will offer creators two new video metrics: Ad Break impressions and Ad Break CPMs. Previously, videos in the test were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were a minimum of 90 seconds, with the first Ad Break able to run at 20 seconds.
That being said, the company committed to not derank viral videos: "Engaging one-off videos that bring friends and communities together have always done well in News Feed and will continue to do so", it promised in its blog post Thursday.
Because consumers tend to avoid ads, shorter ads are seen as ideal because they're over quickly, posing minimal annoyance for users while also letting big brands get a chance to market their products. "Facebook is not. So you can make the argument that they're trying to increase total time spent", Wieser said in an interview.
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Pre-roll ads are commonly used to support online videos, but Facebook has long opted for ad breaks during videos.
In a more annoying caveat, Zuckerberg's brainchild has also announced that it's toying with the idea of ads that appear during the middle of a video.
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