Facebook has started selling video advertising inventory, and will be publishing video ads from July 2013 according to an article in the Financial Times. Online video advertising is a rapidly growing market and Facebook is hoping to capitalize on this and create a significant revenue stream that will give a much needed boost to its share prices.
In general we are seeing a shift from TV viewing to online viewing, and although budgets for online ads are still nowhere near as large as budgets for TV ads, the gap between the two is starting to close. Facebook has been pitching their video advertising inventory alongside the television networks in the U.S. in an attempt to capture a portion of this lucrative market for social media marketing.
How will Facebook video advertising work?
The minute details of how Facebook video advertising will work are unconfirmed, but it is expected that relevant ads will be selected to appear in each user’s newsfeed based on data stored about them by Facebook. Initially users will only see ads for one advertiser per day. Videos will have a maximum airplay of 15 seconds, so they will need to be high impact and visually captivating.
It is expected that Facebook will charge just over $20 per 1000 video views, which is slightly less than is currently charged for TV advertising. While nothing has been confirmed, it is expected that major brands such as Unilever, Coca Cola, Diageo, Nestle, and Ford will be among the first to take up these Facebook marketing opportunities.
Opposition to Facebook video advertising
Of course there has been some criticism of Facebook’s plans, with some opponents suggesting that video advertising will be distracting or even annoying and that it will reduce the number of Facebook users. However, most accept that this will only affect a small minority of users, and that videos won’t be any more distracting than other forms of advertising. In fact many are surprised that Facebook have only just begun to consider this type of advertising given the popularity of online videos. As long as video ads are relevant and are of a high quality, they are unlikely to adversely impact the Facebook experience.
The main concern raised is over the proposed auto play feature, which will mean that the first video a user sees each day will start automatically. However, these videos will not have audio enabled, so users who are worried about being busted checking Facebook in the office because of a burst of music can rest easy. Activating the sound on the video will reset it to play again from the beginning. Apparently Facebook is still analysing the auto play feature to see whether they will implement it.
Opportunities of Facebook video advertising
Video advertising on Facebook provides a huge opportunity for brands who want highly targeted online marketing. Video engages viewers in a completely different way to static content, and high quality, well targeted video ads that are set within the familiar environment of the Facebook newsfeed are likely to have an excellent conversion rate, at a lower cost than TV advertising. Facebook video advertising looks set for success with analysts predicting that initial sales will be in the region of $1.5million per day, rising to $4million by the end of the year.