Facebook Widens News Feed Video-Ad Rollout

/ Mar 13, 2014

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A few months after Facebook first started testing video ads in its news feed, and more than a year after we first learned Facebook was planning to roll out such a product, Facebook is finally beginning its video ad business in earnest.

The social network announced today that it will begin testing Premium Video Ads with a limited, but larger group of advertising partners.

As a reminder, here’s how the thing works: Facebook will publish relevant 15-second video ads to your news feed. When you scroll past it, the video will start playing automatically, but without audio. If you click on the ad, it will expand to a full screen and start playing with audio.

This is Facebook’s way of tapping into the growing online video advertising market. More specifically, this how Facebook wants to cozy up to TV and premium video buyers. Just look at what the company, via a post from Facebook product marketing manager Susan Buckner, is selling:

“Premium Video Ads are bought and measured in a way that’s similar to how advertisers already buy and measure ads on TV. The ads are bought based on Targeted Gross Rating Points to reach a specific audience over a short period of time. Delivery is measured by an independent third party, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR), and advertisers only pay based on what Nielsen OCR measures.”

GRPs, the currency used by TV: check. Nielsen, the measurement company used by TV: check.

What’s more, Facebook is promising that the video ads that show up on the news feed will be of a high quality. Facebook is working with a company called Ace Metrix to manually assess how engaging the creative is before it appears on Facebook. “Ace Metrix will allow us to objectively measure the creative quality of the video in the Facebook environment, and highlight performance indicators for advertisers such as watchability, meaningfulness, and emotional resonance,” says Buckner.

Not sure how that’s doable, but it’s a way to reassure video buyers who are still hesitant to spend on online video. With only a limited number of partners, Facebook should ostensibly be able to live up to this promise. Earlier reports have also indicated that Facebook is looking at large prices for this inventory — so it’s likely that the product doesn’t scale to a level that prevents Facebook from manually screening ad content before it goes live on the news feed.

Buckner says people will begin seeing these new ads over the next few months.

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