Facebook is moving ahead with its plans to increase its ad revenue using video ads, much to its users’ dismay. While some users have been vocal about these video ads, calling them intrusive and claiming that the ads disrupt the Facebook experience they have grown to love, we believe that these ads will be an important step not just for Facebook’s ads, but also for advertising in general. If Facebook could find a way to make video advertising — which, as TV networks learned long ago, can command higher CPMs than simple display advertisements — then they will have disrupted the entire model of advertisements that the web has been working with for the past two decades.
For Facebook’s video ads to work, they need to be as palatable to users as possible while presenting a clear value proposition to advertisers. Advertisers need to trust that the videos are presenting their message in ways that convert effectively. Historically, TV ads have provided this level of engagement and reach (which is why Super Bowl ads have always been so expensive). But Facebook seems to be reaching for this potentially-huge revenue stream.
How disruption could occur through video ads
A leaked deck from Facebook shows that they have big plans to disrupt not just digital ads, but also television ads. In the deck, Facebook tells marketers:
- You want to be where people are. Changing consumer behavior should > shape where you spend your marketing dollars.
- You want to reach all of the people who matter to you. Facebook has unparalleled targeted reach.
- You want to be in the most engaging digital real estate, which, as you just saw, is Facebook’s News Feed.
In a nut, this is their value proposition to marketers: Facebook’s News Feed is the most engaging digital real estate, so that’s where marketers should put their ad dollars. But there are even more salient details with regards to video. As TechCrunch reports, Facebook told marketers:
Gone are the days when a family gathered around their TV on Sunday night to connect with the outside world. Television is no longer a guaranteed way to reach and engage your target audience…On TV, advertisers don’t always know who people are, and over-deliver to certain people and can’t reach other people. So advertisers end up hitting the same people over and over again with a large portion of the audience being underexposed…
The way Facebook sees it, video ads that automatically play in the Facebook News Feed will be akin to interactive television ads. They’ll provide all of the benefits of TV ads, but they will be trackable, efficient, and interactive in ways that traditional television ads simply cannot be.
Of course, this disruptive future is contingent on many variables — some of which are out of Facebook’s control. Will marketers and advertisers sign on to Facebook ads? Will user outcry over automatically-playing video ads prevent Facebook from reaching users in the ways that they predict in this deck? No one knows. However, what is clear is that Facebook is making big moves in the advertising sphere. Regardless of what happens, publishers big and small will feel the ripple effects.
Publishers: prepare for a future in which video ads on websites are accepted and valued!