You may have heard about Facebook currently beta testing mid-roll ads in videos and Live videos in the US, but what will this mean for brands and video publishers?

What are mid-roll ads?

Mid-roll ads are ads that will show in the middle of videos and Live videos. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always been opposed to pre-roll ads (Recode, 2017), which are fairly standard across the industry with the likes of YouTube and hopes that mid-roll ads will be less disruptive for viewers.

In-stream video ads

Inevitably, mid-roll ads will change the way videos are produced. Brands and producers will have to consider how to build suspense in order to sustain interest in their content throughout the ad breaks to keep viewers watching and maintain engagement levels. Publishers of standard videos might use the first twenty seconds to tease the remainder of the video. The videos eligible for in-stream ads will be a minimum of 90 seconds long, which will incentivise publishers to lengthen videos that they post to this platform. In-stream ads can begin after a video has run for 20 seconds or longer, and if multiple ads are shown they need to be at least two minutes apart.

Live video ad-breaks

Ad-breaks will be an option for creators of Live videos, which are what the name suggests; short breaks for ads during their Live videos. When a broadcaster chooses to take an ad break, people watching the video will see an in-stream ad of up to 15 seconds in length.

The criteria for Live ads are as follows:

– The broadcaster or brand will need to have at least 2,000 followers

– Videos need to be Live for at least 4 minutes before they can take an ad-break

– The stream must have at least 300 concurrent viewers

– Additional ad-breaks can be taken after a minimum of five minutes between each break

The broadcaster of a Live video will earn a share of the resulting ad revenue. They will keep 55% of the revenue and Facebook will retain 45% (The Drum, 2017).

Mid-roll thoughts

Video has become a battleground for the key social media platforms, from Facebook to YouTube to Snapchat, on the chase for more professional content. Video is a key revenue maker for these channels, so Facebook introducing mid-roll ads comes as no surprise.

These ads will open up new prospects for advertisers, but will pose a challenge for video creations. They will need to produce native ads that don’t affect and interfere with the user’s experience and ultimately disengage the audience entirely.

Advertisers and broadcasters will need to be more creative with their video content in order to compete with their rivals, and get a claim of the video content revenue. Along with this, content will need to be distributed at regular intervals in order to keep viewers engaged and attain results. Knowing how to truly succeed with Facebook’s new ad format and Live-ads requires an understanding of the past and insight into the future. Currently, there is no set date as to when mid-roll ads and ad-breaks will go live in the UK.

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