Facebook Watch brings greater flexibility to advertising

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 6 September 2017

Facebook’s new video platform Watch has opened up a range of new marketing opportunities for brands on platform, including ad breaks and program sponsorships you’d usually associate with TV.

Facebook says the aim is to provide marketers with a greater choice of ad formats and viewing environments outside of newsfeeds, where ads are usually scrolled over in three seconds.

Facebook vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson describes the mix of video content and advertising options as “an accordion of different offerings for the consumer and advertiser".

“There’s three different consumer behaviours – on the go, lean forward and lean back. We now offer video in all three areas from the consumer and advertiser side,” she tells AdNews.

“In a mobile feed environment, consumers choose thumb stopping content. On the advertiser side, most of our mobile feed video is consumed in less than three seconds and that has really required the market to learn how to make actual video content really resonate in often very short form.

“In mid-roll ads (in-stream), we are definitely seeing longer view times of up to 15 seconds. On our audience network where in-stream ad formats have been available since January, 70% of the video completion rates are above 10 seconds. It’s really all to do with the format.”

One size does not fit all

Everson says far too many advertisers don't tailor the ad creative to the environment it is placed in. This can have an impact on the effectiveness of an ad.

“The overall global average is not where it needs to be,” she says. “We’re still seeing too many 30 second TVCs that are running in mobile feed as TVCs which is not at all anything we recommend.

“Marketers should view video not as a paintbrush but as a canvass. You might paint a 15-second video that is going to work really well on mid-roll or other environments, and that’s how you are going to tell your story. But you also need to as a marketer have the muscle to do three seconds or less and have that accordion of offerings.

“Sometimes the industry uses blunt descriptions like ‘online video’ when it’s actually a canvass of many different formats.”

Facebook recommends marketers use mobile-ready assets rather than using original TV commercials. It says mobile-ready assets produce a 27% higher success rate in lifting brand awareness compared to a TVC run in its original, unedited form.

Facebook has experienced an “explosion” of video content in the past year with three-times more videos shared this year compared to 2016.

Its huge investment in professionally-created video is designed to give its 2 billion monthly users more reasons to stay on platform for longer as well as attract users and ad dollars from rival Snapchat.

“We think the video shift is incredibly significant based on what we are seeing on consumer behaviour,” Everson says.


Facebook Watch rundown

Watch, pictured above, offers a wide range of episodic video content from professionally-scripted series to live sports and talk shows. Content is sectioned into algorithmic themes, such as ‘what are people talking about’.

Facebook has commissioned a few of its own shows, but the majority are created by content partners.

Programming tends to skew to younger audiences that Facebook hopes to attract, and is brand safe, avoiding contentious topics such as news and politics.

Some of the shows will be familiar to Facebook users, such as Humans of New York, a series of 20-minute docos based on the popular Facebook posts.

The social media giant and content creators are testing several ways to monetise content on Watch with in-stream ad breaks expected to play a prominent role.

Similar to YouTube, advertising revenue will be split between content creators and Facebook, with reports suggesting 55% will go to creators.

Creators can also run sponsored shows on Facebook’s branded content tag with Business Insider recently running two shows on Watch for its lifestyle channel Insider.

Watch has rolled out in the US with tentative plans to launch in Australia in early 2018.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus