published by Indigo Productions


Facebook Launches Video Advertising

Photograph by Caden Crawford


Macy’s has become the first major retailer to roll out Facebook video ads within the social network’s mobile newsfeeds.

According to Adweek, the legendary retailer’s 15-second commercial spots will play automatically, with the sound muted, until they are clicked on.

The media rates that marketers will pay to run a video ad on Facebook is determined by the size of the audience as measured by audience rating firm Nielsen. Marketers can choose specific times of day for their spots and target ads according to age and gender.

Online video ads, which typically carry much higher rates than other forms of online ads, could help Facebook bolster its ad revenue in international markets where the company’s average revenue per user is lower than in the United States and Canada.

That might not be entirely accurate.  According to the Wall Street Journal, a video ad on Facebook costs approximately a million dollars a day, provided of course they accept you.  Concepts have to be approved by the social media site’s creative team and then must pass a viewer rating board who determine the spot’s “meaningfulness.”  And then, once approved and live, they play without sound and can be scrolled past.

Which doesn’t necessarily sit well with advertisers.  According to Zachary Treuhart, chief digital officer at Grey Advertising, Facebook’s controls are unheard of.  “If I’m a brand and I’m going to write a check for $1 million, I want to control my advertising.”

As of last week, Reuters has reported that Facebook has expanded video ads to seven countries outside of the U.S. including France, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Australia and Britain.

Yet, there appears to be a catch-22.

“Facebook hopes video ads will boost revenue, but needs to avoid annoying users by accepting too many ads.  Some creative agencies and media buyers say they are waiting to see if the ads are effective before diving in.”

There’s little doubt that Facebook will find that balance, if the Digital Content NewFronts is any indication.

According to The New York Times, “the amount of money spent by marketers on digital video is growing by double-digit percentages each year.”  The 2014 NewFronts featured over two dozen presentations by companies who understand that television offers only a finite number of desirable commercial spots whereas online video is theoretically infinite as there is “no scarcity” of opportunity leading to a large number of new video strategies and platforms from such companies as AOL, Google, Microsoft, Vevo, Yahoo and new players such as The Onion, Condé Nast, National Geographic, PBS, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable Media and The New York Times.

As for Facebook? The arrival of video metrics, “consisting of unique video views, average viewing time durations and audience retention, are intended to offer more insights about how video ads resonate with Facebook’s user base of more than 1.28 billion and counting” and the ability to “break down results and view data by demographics (i.e. age, gender, and country) for the purpose of being able to better target video ads in the future,” pretty much guarantees the time is ripe to utilize Facebook video advertising for your brand.

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