How Advertisers Can Win With Facebook’s New Mid-Roll Video Ad Format

The battle for effective video ads is front and center as Facebook’s new ad format creates unique opportunities

Facebook recently announced that it would start testing a new mid-roll ad format, which will give video publishers the chance to insert ads into clips after people have watched them for at least 20 seconds.

It’s estimated that video publishers will be able to pull in a whopping 55 percent of all ad sales, a major win given the scarcity of opportunities for them to monetize content to date.

While this opens up new prospects for advertisers, the mid-roll format also poses a challenge for video creators to produce native ads that don’t “interfere” with the user’s experience and ultimately turn them off entirely.

The good news is that when it comes to knowing what kinds of ads will be most effective, advertisers can A/B test creative concepts more scientifically than ever, taking the guesswork completely out of the equation.

But knowing how to truly succeed with Facebook’s new ad format requires an understanding of the past and some insight into the future. Only then will advertisers be ready to conquer the road ahead.

Dance in the dark of night

We once lived in a world of television advertising, and measuring effectiveness was, to quote Led Zeppelin, a “dance in the dark of night.”

In the golden age of TV advertising, media money was aplenty, and a marketer could not be fired for running ads on free-to-air TV. But the certainty of success from media spend was unstable at best and media waste was rife. The average media buyer lacked clarity on who they were targeting, and there were no clear metrics of results or return on investment. The best metrics were guesstimates. Who knew if they were actually engaged or even sitting in the room as ads played?

The age of transparency

Make no mistake though: There is no going back to the good old days. That ship has sailed. We are now in an age of transparency, where marketers and media buyers have much clearer metrics and analytics to see how their creatives perform. If anything, today we are deluged by metrics: number of views, how long they watched, click-through rates, shares, device and browser analytics, etc.

Marketers need to tighten the bolts on their creative and media machines, especially if they want to dominate Facebook’s latest advertising strategy.

Procter & Gamble’s recent call to its agencies for higher standards of transparency and measurement is indicative of the urgency of this imperative on an industrywide basis.

The proliferation of targets, choice of media platforms and projects and a multitude of players on a single brand is a recipe for waste. Both media and creative needs to be managed from a single point of view or even dashboard, as both sides drive efficacy and efficiency.

Key revenue makers in the digital age

Online video advertising is visibly seen as a key revenue maker for the likes of Facebook and other social platforms. Snapchat’s announcement last month of its latest round of creative and ad partners proves that the opportunity is viable in a mobile-first, video-first world.

So what does this mean for advertisers wanting to get in on the action? Advertisers need video creative and they need it managed in order to keep up with their competitors, which are just as eager to claim a piece of the video content revenue pie. This starts with their creative teams or agencies producing their content.

However, once this is done, an advertiser needs to keep the content coming, abundantly, to ensure that it keeps viewers engaged and sees results.

AI and advertising

In comes artificial intelligence: Not only does the advertising industry have powerful metrics, now it has predictive machine learning that can assess how its ad creatives will perform.

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