Facebook today revealed several updates to its advertising policies concerning videos. The bad news is that six-second pre-roll ads will be coming to dedicated video tabs such as Watch. The less bad news is that it looks like they won’t be infiltrating News Feed.
Approximately noone on the entire internet wants to click on a video and immediately watch an advertisement, but Facebook wants to try pre-rolls out to see if it works well enough to strike a happy tone with both publishers and viewers.
According to a company blog post:
While pre-roll ads don’t work well in News Feed, we think they will work well in Watch because it’s a place where people visit and come back to with the intention to watch videos.
One of the changes coming soon will affect your News Feed, however. It looks like the social network is tweaking the algorithm so videos from “publishers and creators that people actively want to watch” will float to the top:
With this update, we will show more videos in News Feed that people seek out or return to watch from the same publisher or creator week after week — for example, shows or videos that are part of a series, or from partners who are creating active communities.
This sounds like the company will be prioritizing video over other kinds of ads, but we’ll wait and see how it shakes out.
This may help Facebook appeal to the YouTube’s audience, most people don’t think of the social network when they decided to search for a video. Seeing more popular content in our feeds could change some minds.
Finally, there are some new rules that might distress some publishers, but actually feel like a win for those of us who get really annoyed when the bulk of a 120 second video is an advertisement that begins 30 seconds in.
The company says:
… starting in January we will focus the expansion of Ad Breaks on shows, and Ad Break eligibility will shift to videos and episodes that are at least three minutes long, with the earliest potential Ad Break at the one minute mark. 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.
Most of the changes seem to effect videos that end up on dedicated tabs like Watch. It looks like Facebook may be moving away from its massive funding efforts to generate content, and is now focusing on weaning creators onto different revenue streams.