Facebook Is Expanding Its Testing of Pre-Roll Video Ads

The social network announced several monetization updates

Facebook will begin testing pre-roll ads in places including search results and pages’ Timelines chombosan/iStock
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More pre-roll video ads are coming to Facebook, but not to its News Feed just yet.

Vice president of media partnerships Nick Grudin and product management director Maria Angelidou-Smith revealed in a blog post that the social network is expanding the testing of pre-roll ads it began on its Facebook Watch video platform late last year to “places where people seek out videos.”

Those places do not include News Feed at this point, but Grudin and Angelidou-Smith explained that they do include search results and pages’ Timelines, writing, “For example, if a person searches for a show, a pre-roll may play when they select the episode to watch.”

Other new features related to video monetization on Facebook, as described by Grudin and Angelidou-Smith, are:

  • The social network will test a show preview trailer format, enabling people to discover episodes of Facebook Watch shows in their News Feeds. When viewers tap on these trailers, they will see a short ad prior to being taken to Facebook Watch to view full episodes. Partners will also be able to boost this format, giving them access to new audiences.
  • Facebook recently introduced a feature that automatically detects the ideal spots for ad breaks within eligible videos.
  • Another new feature from the social network is a tool enabling content partners to submit videos for monetization eligibility review before posting them, ensuring that those videos will be eligible for advertising opportunities throughout their distribution on the social network.

Facebook is also clarifying its policies and updating its Monetization Eligibility Standards and Content Guidelines for Monetization to weed out “content that creates less value for people,” with Grudin and Angelidou-Smith saying that enforcement of these new standards “will be rolled out in phases” to give its content partners time to adapt, but warning that “repeat abuse could result in losing access to monetization features altogether.”

More details were provided on the types of content affected by the standards updates:

  • Content partners with paid arrangements for pages to “methodically and inorganically” share videos are no longer able to monetize views originating on those third-party pages, with Grudin and Angelidou-Smith writing, “This behavior optimizes for distribution rather than quality and does not build deep relationships between people and content.”
  • “Video formats that aren’t actually video”—including static or minimal movement and looping content—is not eligible for ads, with the two executives saying, “People do not expect to see ads in this type of content, and this is not the type of content advertisers want to run ads in.”
  • Finally, to be “deeply evaluated over the coming weeks and months,” Facebook is examining limited editorialization of content, meaning pages that distribute repurposed clips from other sources, saying that they “do not foster engaged, loyal communities in the way that pages that produce and publish original, thematic or episodic videos do.”

Finally, Grudin and Angelidou-Smith provided this link detailing best practices for its content partners.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.