It's Time to Shake Up Your Upfront Investments

Facebook presents Showcase

Every good solution starts with a well-informed problem. Through conversations and feedback with our partners over the past year, Facebook has been able to better understand the growing challenge for advertisers to reach audiences within a premium, brand-safe video environment.

This challenge coincides with a growing consumer behavior: Premium video viewing, on-demand. As streaming services command more and more consumer time and attention, younger audiences—particularly the sought after 18-34 demo—are choosing options outside of the traditional advertising-supported video ecosystem.

We launched the Watch tab on Facebook in August 2017 to create a front door to video on the platform. In Watch, people can find videos from publishers and creators, along with Facebook Originals, live sports, and more. As of last December, there were already more than 400 million people monthly and 75 million people daily around the world who spend at least one minute on Watch. And on average, daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes in Watch.

How can advertisers take advantage of this audience? You may be familiar with In-Stream Reserve, which allows advertisers to run in the top-tier of video content across Facebook. This year, we built on that opportunity and rolled out Facebook Showcase in the U.S. Showcase is the only way to buy that premium inventory upfront, at a fixed cost, through a managed service. Showcase campaigns align to how most media buyers do business: They’re bought on an insertion order and delivered against Nielsen demographics.

The word “premium” gets used a lot. So, it’s important to be specific about what this means on Facebook. There are three pieces to this, and they get to the core of what Showcase offers.

1. Hard-to-reach audiences

First is the hard-to-reach audiences that are watching this longer form video. On average every month, nearly 100M people in the U.S. watch In-Stream Reserve eligible content – that’s equivalent to more than a third of the U.S. TV universe. In addition, 43 percent of In-Stream Reserve viewers are 18-34, compared to 29 percent of the TV universe.

2. Curation

Next are the criteria we use to hand curate the best content on our platform for In-Stream Reserve. There are five things we look at:

Retentiveness: Viewers show repeat viewing behavior, continuing to watch on an on-going basis.
Intentionality: People seek out the content.
Popularity: The content’s video page has a robust following.
Quality: Production quality of the video.
Brand safety: The content is safe for ad adjacency, following robust publisher and content level reviews.

3. Brand safety

Last but most importantly is our focus on brand safety, a core pillar to the Showcase offering. Here’s how we break down our brand-safety principles for Showcase:

Community and monetization standards: Community standards apply to all content on Facebook. Additionally, in-stream ads will only appear in video content that meets our guidelines for monetization and would not include content that most advertisers would deem sensitive, such as from restricted categories such as tragedy or conflict, debated social issues, explicit content, etc.

Industry standards: All In-Stream Reserve content is reviewed for the same sensitive categories as broadcast.

Content review: Facebook goes through the list of In-Stream Reserve eligible publishers and does a human review of each. Then, all individual videos go through human review prior to an ad being served.

Reporting transparency: Prior to their campaign running, advertisers will receive a full list of all potential publishers. Post-campaign, you will receive a list detailing the publishers where your ads ran (from most to least impressions).

At Facebook, we’ve built this opportunity thanks to advertiser partnership and feedback, and we’re pleased to be able to bring it to the table as this year’s upfront investments are planned. Showcase was designed to let you accurately reach hard-to-find audiences through longer-form content in a brand-safe environment, aligned to the ways you already buy. We are excited to continue building solutions that meet your needs and ultimately help grow your businesses.

Erik Geisler leads the Facebook North America Agency team, based in New York. His team’s mission is to advance the value that agencies bring their partners through the relentless pursuit of progress.