Facebook is introducing a new, attractive way for marketers to buy video ads as it continues to build up its competitive offerings against Google’s YouTube.
Marketers can now elect to only pay for their video ad if it plays for at least 10 seconds, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Previously, Facebook would charge advertisers on a cost-per-impression basis, meaning marketers had to pay the instant a video ad showed up in someone’s feed.
Because Facebook’s videos autoplay, though, marketers had no way to know whether someone had actually watched their ad, or just unwittingly scrolled by it while not paying any attention to it at all. This new 10-second viewing option allows advertisers to feel more assured that Facebook users are actually seeing and paying attention to their videos (though reading a long status update above an autoplay video, for example, could still take 10 seconds and count as an ad view).
Over the last year, Facebook’s focus on video has stepped up a gear. Thanks in part to autoplay and the fact that Facebook counts 3-seconds of playing as a “view,” its videos receive 4 billion views per day. About 70% of them are uploaded directly to the platform, instead of being shared from other sites like YouTube.
Numbers like those have made it increasingly competitive with YouTube, but one area that Facebook has been seriously lagging was ad offerings.
YouTube’s ad platform still gives marketers way more options of course: They can buy slots before, after, or during videos, make their ads unskippable, or use YouTube’s TrueView option, where they only have to pay if a viewer sticks around for at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video (whichever is less.)
Although introducing a new 10-second ad viewing option doesn’t place Facebook on quite the same playing field, it indicates intent to offer more marketer flexibility. If advertisers can feel more assured that users are actually viewing their videos, they may be willing to allocate more of their budgets to Facebook video ads.
Right now, Facebook doesn’t allow third-parties to verify how much of an ad that people watched, but a Facebook spokesperson tells Business Insider that’s not because it doesn’t believe in third-party verification, but because it doesn’t think that any of the methods out there currently work well enough on mobile.
Facebook ads are sold via auction, and advertisers will be able to choose between buying ads at cost-per-impression or 10-second view basis.
The company will start rolling out the new option Tuesday, although a spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that it still thinks that its impression-based buying option is more valuable then the 10-second ones.
“We strongly believe in giving marketers flexibility over how they buy video ads, and we listened to feedback which is why we’re offering the new cost-per-view option,” she said. “We don’t believe it’s the best option in terms of capturing the best value and brand objectives marketers care about, but we want to give them control and choice over how they buy”
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