Social media may be a hub for information, but it’s also a hub for money. How many of us skip commercials while we’re watching TV or stream our favorite online content from YouTube or Netflix?
Imagine watching a video on Facebook, getting 20 seconds in and just when you’re getting interested, Facebook decides to make more money. You’re presented with a mid-roll ad that is capped at 15 seconds. Will you watch the ad or will you continue to scroll through your news feed and find more content to consume?
Facebook and Instagram are banking on the former.
But what would the quality of the user experience become? We’re showered with ads on every platform, so we’ve become accustomed to being marketed to, but in the middle of a video we’re watching on social media? That might result in mixed reactions from consumers.
As a brand, you may be having issues about where your ad is appearing and in what videos to what audience. Facebook and Instagram are taking two different approaches to this issue, and marketers might be better suited to show their ads on Facebook, where they’ll seemingly have more control.
This is still in process and just beginning to roll out to advertisers and publishers.
Facebook’s Plan With Mid-Roll Ads
Facebook is planning to move away from short-form video and targeting Live video for ads. Facebook recently announced they will stop paying publishers to stream live video and are focusing on a more long-form video format, which will make it easier for viewers to pause for an ad knowing they’ll experience quality video content after the break.
With the mid-roll ads, publishers will receive 55% of the revenue generated from these ads, with the platform taking 45% of the revenue. Users spend 100 million hours per day watching video on the site, and now Facebook is trying to monetize off that exposure for brands.
To help brands get some assurance that their ads are being shown to the right audience, Facebook is making publishers tag their videos to categorize its content. If your brand isn’t interested in the topic, you’re able to opt out of showing your ads in certain videos.
When you’re a brand that uploads videos directly to the platform, you could see ads appear while the video is playing. If a viewer spends more than 20 seconds on your video, Facebook is counting on them sitting through a short ad and stick around to watch the remainder of the video.
By looking at longer videos, Facebook is seeking to increase the amount of time users spend on the platform, enticing shares and getting your brand heard.
Instagram’s Plan With Mid-Roll Ads
Much like Snapchat incorporates some video ads once you’ve clicked through a “story” from a person you’re following, Instagram is planning to incorporate ads into its Stories section.
Instagram has said they will not split revenue with creators and publishers the same way that Facebook does.
The video ad service began rolling out in a trial period for about 30 corporate brands, including Nike, Airbnb, and McDonald’s. These trials will be for around two to three weeks before the more than half a million active advertisers on the platform are able to take advantage of the mid-roll ads.
The move comes as businesses and brands have posted 33% of the most-viewed Instagram Stories on the platform, according to an article by Fortune. The ad videos can be liked, commented on, or shared.
The feature allows advertisers to take any video from their Instagram stream and make it into an ad Story. For more opportunities, ads can also be static photos. You’ll be able to access analytics for your ad content, able to see the number of times a user has viewed or commented your Story.
With the growing number of users on Instagram, and the fact that these videos and posts won’t disrupt the consumption of content from Stories, publishers can see great successes by implementing a mid-roll ad campaign.
What Can We Expect?
With a heavy reliance on social media marketing and sponsored ads, your brand is faced with new ways to connect with consumers and catch their eye. When already interested in a video on their timelines, a short ad can keep them engaged and help increase interactions with your brand.
When viewers first see the mid-roll ad, especially in Facebook videos—we’re already used to ads between some Snapchat Stories—they could be turned off by the constant advertisements they see, but as time goes on, we’ll become accustomed to such ads.
Media consumption is changing, and you have to be ready to reach your audience in those micro-moments where they’ll remember your message.
Will drop off rates increase to numbers we’ve never seen before? Will video ads deter users from consuming as much video content on social mediums?
Expect to see some split testing as publishers learn what kind of ads will work for them. If your ads disrupt engagement, then it’s not worth the mid-roll ad. As a publisher and advertiser, you have to figure out whether showing a mid-roll ad will be beneficial for your company. If not, you’ll have to think of other ways to reach your audience.