Facebook Is Expanding Its Video Ads With Publishers Like USA Today and Daily Mail

Instant Articles also gets video ads

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In a major expansion of the Facebook Audience Network, Facebook is now extending its capabilities by adding pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll video ads for brands advertising on third-party publishers websites and apps.

Third-party publishers such as USA Today Sports Media Group and Daily Mail will target users with video ads through data provided by the Facebook Audience Network. The goal, according to Facebook, is to begin focusing on brand awareness and recall. In-article ads through Facebook Instant Articles will also tap into the Facebook Audience Network. Jack in the Box is one of the first advertisers to use the new format.

For advertisers, it allows them to extend a campaign audience 10 percent, while publishers can provide more relevant ads to their visitors. This also marks the first time Facebook Audience Network has expanded to desktop, allowing for cross-device campaigns across third-party publishers.

Brett Vogel, Facebook Audience Network's lead product marketing manager, said it allows advertisers who advertise on Facebook already to go beyond direct response and brand awareness. "It's not just all app-install brands. Every single brand you can imagine, so they have these videos, they're distributing these videos and now they can bring them more places."

However, while the new format might sound like a great addition for advertisers, it likely won't be welcomed by viewers. Most viewers can't stand the format, and some studies even suggest pre-roll ads have prompted more users to download ad blockers. According to a study earlier this year by video ad tech company Teads, 52 percent of those surveyed for a report said pre-roll ads are the most intrusive format.

Facebook is continuing to put more and more emphasis on video. Facebook users view nearly 100 million hours of video every day, while Instagram viewers have increased their video viewing by 40 percent in the past year. In February, it added more options for advertisers by adding captions to silent videos in the news feed. And then of course, there's also Facebook Live, which rolled out to all iPhone users earlier this year.

The size and scope of the Facebook Audience Network continues to grow. In January, Facebook announced it had a $1 billion run rate, with $250 million of advertiser dollars passing through the network in fourth-quarter 2015 to pay for ads targeting to publisher websites during the last three months of the year. The number of publishers in using the service has grown 600 percent year-over-year. According to Brett Vogel, the Audience Network's lead product marketing manager advertisers were able to increase incremental reach by 10 percent.

"Video is exploding and we see that trend continuing," Vogel said. "Both with publishers and with advertisers on the Audience Network. So the goal is to bring great ads into that format, helping advertisers, publishers and improving the experience for people."

Here's what in-stream video ads will look like in the Facebook Audience Network:

Here's what in-article video ads will look like in the Facebook Audience Network:

Correction: The original version of this story said pre-roll ads would appear in the newsfeed.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.