How much do you know about Facebook video advertising?

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer (COO) made it clear that video is a big business for the platform during Advertising Week in late September of this year.

In keeping up with this mission, Facebook has created a variety of video advertising tools, including auto-play videos and the newly released Slideshow.

Facebook Q3 earnings show that there are more than eight billion daily video views on the platform and upwards of 500 million people watching every day. And in September of this year, more than 1.5 million small businesses posted videos (organic posts and ads) on Facebook.

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“Facebook is positioning itself as a one-stop shop for video viewing,” says David Hewitt, vice president and mobile practice lead for SapientNitro.

As Facebook is scaling its video business, how can marketers keep up with its ad offerings and take advantages of them?

Premium video ads

Premium Video Ads are known as auto-play video ads that are seen by Facebook users every day. When Facebook officially rolled out this ad unit last year, it caused lots of friction because 15-second-long videos (now they can be longer or shorter.) that start playing without sound was a brand new format for the advertising industry.

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In spite of advertisers’ resistance at the very beginning, Premium Video Ads are an elegant solution. Now, this format is a universal option for brands that are looking to squeeze into the crowded News Feed and drive conversions.

Facebook said that it hit eight billion daily views in the third quarter of this year, which proves that premium video ads are effective.

“Even without paying, our clients saw more impressions and higher engagement rate with video content,” says Jenny Marder, senior social strategist at agency Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners (RTO+P).

In-view video ads

As advertisers are becoming increasingly concerned that they’re paying for ads that are not actually being seen, Facebook started allowing them to purchase video ads based on 100 percent in-view impressions in September of this year.

By signing up for an ad package that has 100 percent viewable impressions, advertisers don’t need to worry that their money is wasted on videos that are not fully scrolled through.

Facebook measures an ad impression the moment an ad enters the screen of a desktop browser or mobile app. If an ad doesn’t enter the screen, Facebook doesn’t count it as an ad impression, according to the company.

Those impressions are not necessarily delivered to advertisers’ target audience though, depending on how much they’d like to invest in Facebook. Therefore, In-View Video Ads can be costly.

“Generally speaking, when you purchase In-View Video Ads, you are paying more for those. It may be still advantageous to buy media packages that have no viewable bundles because your average cost from impressions could go down,” says SapientNitro’s Hewitt.

Also, Facebook doesn’t specify how long an ad would need to be in view when an advertiser is charged. The lack of a time limit could water down In-View Ads’ value to advertisers.

“It’s really confusing because there’s no full answer to how long people are seeing these ads, which is an important piece to know about In-View Ads,” RTO+P’s Marder says.

Slideshow

Slideshow is a lightweight video ad format that lets advertisers create 10-to-15-second videos from still images. Compared to Premium Video Ads, Slideshow is like an advanced version of Carousel Ads.

It’s not a real video clip in some way, but it can be an ideal option for brands in emerging marketers where consumers may have constraints when accessing video content. Slideshow can also be cheaper than Premium Video Ads given the video production cost.

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“Since everyone can put together their images to make a Slideshow, advertisers can experiment with this new format without spending money creating videos. If Slideshow doesn’t work for their brand, they can easily move to other ad formats and other platforms,” Marder notes.

Two video buying options

For all video ad offerings, Facebook charges advertisers based on a cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) model. In September of this year, the company further introduced a new buying option of 100 percent in-view impressions to let advertisers purchase ad impressions where the entire ad has passed through a user’s screen in News Feed. It’s available for every ad format, including text, photo, link and video ads.

Aside from 100 percent in-view impressions, Facebook offers a buying option of 10-second video views specifically for video ads. This cost-per-view (CPV) model is a realistic option for advertisers who want to pay for qualified views, as they pay only when their ads have played for at least 10 seconds.

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“Compared to In-View Video Ads, 10-Second Video Ads allow advertisers to know that their ads in News Feed are actually being seen instead of being scrolled through,” Marder says.

Facebook counts a view when a video has been running for three seconds. While this standard is consistent with the standards set forth by the Media Rating Council and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, it looks less appealing than YouTube’ view counts.

YouTube, whose video inventory is sold via TrueView, increments the public view count when a viewer has watched for 30 seconds. But a Facebook spokesperson says that “there’s considerable value created the moment an ad comes onto screen, not just when it hits three or 30 seconds.”

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Major takeaways

Facebook’s video ad offerings are like jigsaw puzzles and media buying can be complicated depending on marketers’ goals and budgets. Premium Video Ads is the default video format on Facebook, while Slideshow is a realistic option for marketers who want to save a few bucks on video production.

If a brand wants to advertise a product or service on large and make sure its ads are viewable from top to bottom in News Feed, it can allocate a marketing budget to In-View Video Ads. If a brand cares more about the value of impressions, it can purchase Facebook video ads based on a 10-second view basis.

There’s no one-size-fits-all video strategy on Facebook. But advertisers can test and learn those jigsaw puzzles and then find the optimal media package.

Disclosure: SapientNitro’s David Hewitt is a Facebook shareholder. 

Clarification:

  • Facebook no longer has a product called “premium video ads.” They are rather auto-play video ads, which have all the same targeting capabilities and can be bought in the same way as other ad formats, according to a Facebook spokesperson. This includes photo, text, link and app install ads.
  • 100 percent in-view impression buying is not necessarily a “video buying option”  but rather an option for all types of ad content on Facebook. 100 percent in-view impression buying is focused on the number of pixels seen in an ad and not video view length. 

Images via Flickr

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