Facebook trials ads before videos in its “Watch” section
Back in 2010, in the film The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) admonishes his then-business partner Eduardo Saverin – who wants to monetise the site – saying, “ads aren’t cool”, and that, should the site start installing “pop-ups for Mountain Dew”, it would lose its cachet.
We’d like to reflect how the mighty have fallen, but with two billion users to date, the presence of ads of the site has hardly impeded its onward march. Will the latest news, aired in this blog post, that Facebook is to put six-second ads before some of its videos, buck that trend?
The social media giant is to trial advertisements at the beginning of some of its videos at the start of next year. The ads are, however, tactically confined for the “Watch” section – the site’s designated video service. The company has assured users that they won’t be seeing these ads in their News Feeds, lamenting that such a location doesn’t “work well” for those kinds of adds. In other words, people don’t want to be subjected to compulsory video advertising when they’re trying to get a quick-fire round-up of their personal social orbit. Funny, that.
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. The move, which is still being tested, will only apply to videos lasting over three minutes, and won’t be unleashed until you’re at least a minute into the content you’re watching.
“Viewers tell us they prefer it when the video they are watching “merits” an Ad Break — for example, content they are invested in, content they have sought out, or videos from publishers or creators they care about and are coming back to,” said Maria Angelidou-Smith, Facebook’s Product Management Director. “These videos tend to be longer, with more narrative development,” she explained.
“Watch”, which was unveiled earlier this year, is Facebook’s answer to YouTube, having appropriated Snapchat’s “stories” functionality already. It’s been received with mixed reviews, and though it does feature some original content, such as video versions of the eminently popular Humans of New York account, the bulk of it comprises short, low-budget videos. Which invokes the question: just how