Social media giant Facebook is prepping an option for brands to create six-second ads that run inside video content
The company’s recent results showed upticks in video and mobile ad spending has spurred a 47% spike in ad revenue for the social network from a year ago. That’s not insignificant: ad dollars contributed nearly $9.2 billion to the bottom line in the quarter.
That said, brands are still working on crafting mobile video ads that have true effectiveness. On its latest earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg revealed the results of a trial with Tropicana, which compared ad avoidance levels in Facebook ads that were six, 15 and 30 seconds long. The shorter format saw “higher brand metrics across the board,” she said.
Sandberg noted that video remains a lynchpin of Facebook’s mobile strategy, and that it continues to overhaul its inventory choices to make sure that the rise in video usage on the platform doesn’t cannibalise its ad viewership. As more users watch video, they spend less time scrolling through the news feed. As a result, those ads — a set of inventory that is near saturation levels on the platform— will begin to attract fewer eyeballs.
“The economics are quite different from the current feed-based business that we have,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on that same call.
As a result, Facebook is refining its video ad products as part of a broader overhaul of the platform. For instance, in addition to the six-second concept, it has expanded inventory for mid-roll ads for live video and video on demand (VOD) to include more US publishers, Sandberg said, with whom it shares revenue.
The news comes as Facebook preps original content — presumably content that will be monetised via advertising. It has contracted to release a scripted TV series called Loosely Exactly Nicole, and a reality competition called Last State Standing.
Loosely Exactly Nicole is a half-hour comedy that aired for one season before MTV cancelled it last October. It features 30-year-old comedian Nicole Byer and is based on her life. It was developed by Mina Lefevre, EVP at MTV, before she left in February to become head of development at Facebook.
Last State Standing is a new series from A. Smith and Co, the producer of the obstacle course competition series American Ninja Warrior and Kitchen Nightmares. It will feature one contestant from each of the 50 United States, who will compete in “unique and crazy games”.
Facebook also will also work to develop short-form digital series in partnership with BuzzFeed, Vox, ATTN and Group Nine Media. The efforts are supposed to go live next month.