An Update to Facebook Video Ads and Video Captioning

facebook video ads
 

It’s clear that Facebook is starting to take video seriously, between the increase in saturation of video content in general and the increasing adoption of Live Facebook content due to behind the scenes efforts.

Fortunately, Facebook hasn’t forgotten that these content creators need support and tools to make their jobs a little easier, nor has it left the brands that helped encourage video content hanging out to dry when it comes to advertising opportunities.

Facebook Video Grows Its Video Potential…

Facebook has struggled to find a way to present video that was attention catching and relevant, including its flawed experiment with auto-start videos with the volume turned all the way up.

Users shied away from this sort of Facebook video, often because they were on a train or in a library or some other place where loud videos were simply not appropriate. Even social media enthusiasts have a sense of propriety, after all.

Today’s Facebook video is a whole different beast, with a bent toward the commercial as much as possible. Marketers can literally create videos that are nothing but advertisements for their companies, or more valuable content that speaks to an audience while still delivering a message about the brand. Today’s smarter video production also often includes audio subtitles so that when a video runs, there’s no reason that the audio must be turned up to 11. Advertisers can deliver their messages and be heard while still being relatively quiet about it.

Until recently, this type of captioning required hours of manual overlay work, which could be really budget breaking for smaller businesses. But not any longer. Facebook video captions can now appear automatically for Pages interested in working with video as a medium. This feature was first rolled out a year ago, but the adoption rate has been low owing to a lack of buzz. The tool is pretty neat, allowing you to walk through the suggested captions and correct them as needed. The artificial intelligence behind it is staggering.

… While Exploring Mid-Roll Ads

The influx of videos that Facebook imagines will be produced as a result of easier captioning has also come with incredible commercial potential.

While the company has made it clear it has no interest in pre-roll advertising, like what you’d see on YouTube, it hasn’t made a statement on mid-roll marketing until recently. And when that subject came up, Facebook said yes in great big neon letters.

Facebook wants to sell mid-roll ads to advertisers and share the profit with publishers, to create a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Although it’s unclear if advertisements will be randomly placed into videos, it’s a smart bet that the same AI that’s being used to create captions can also help choose appropriate messages for each user, based on their history and the video they’re currently engaging with.

New Opportunities for Brands

Because most publishers have seen little or no ad revenue so far from the social media giant, these mid-roll ads are going to represent new opportunities for income for brands with decently sized followings as well as more ad real estate for marketers. Publishers could also conceivably be both video content creator and ad producer, generating increased revenue and increased awareness within the same vehicle.

Facebook video ads do come with a catch, though. They can’t be run until a user has watched at least 20 seconds of a video clip, and they won’t appear in any video shorter than 90 seconds. So, it’s going to pay, literally, to invest in slightly longer and more engaging content going forward.

Whether the level of engagement a user has with a video will pay off for advertisers is less clear, however. If you were intently watching a video of cats being spooked by cucumbers, would you really be ready to change gears to view a commercial about getting an oil change?

With all the metrics Facebook is able to provide, as well as the targeted advertising potentials, it’s worth a try to see what happens with Facebook mid-roll ads. These ads should become available any time, so watch for your chance to get in on the experiment.

 

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