If the ads at the beginning of YouTube videos grind your gears, get ready to just about lose your mind with Facebook’s new advertising technique. According to “industry sources,” the social media giant will soon start testing a mid-roll ad format, which means advertisers will have the opportunity to insert clips in, you guessed it, the middle of your videos. Once you’ve viewed content for 20 seconds, brands will have the option of attempting to sell you on their wares.
For the time being, Record reports, Facebook will sell these ads and share revenue with publishers, granting them 55 percent of sales. This is the same margin offered by YouTube, who is currently the king of digital video ad buys.
As video becomes an increasingly important component of social media, networks like Snapchat, Facebook-owned Instagram, and yes, Facebook itself have all dedicated themselves to expanding their video offerings over the last couple years. In fact, as of last year, Facebook said its users were watching 100 million hours of video footage per day. But up until now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it difficult for advertisers to make money off this content, forbidding preroll video ads, like those seen on YouTube.
That all appears to be changing, though.
Facebook does appear to be putting quite a premium on content quality, however, as ads will only run if viewers are engrossed enough to make it through 20 seconds of a video. Moreover, only videos that are at least 90 seconds long are eligible to host mid-roll ads.
While Facebook has thus far refused to comment on these latest reports, Facebook vice president Dan Rose, who oversees content at the company, told Poynter last fall that mid-roll ads could be expected “early next year.”