Earlier this month, Recode first reported that Facebook will soon begin testing mid-roll video ads. Publishers will have the option to place ads within their social videos. The ad revenue will be split between the platform and the publisher, with Facebook selling the ads at the outset. For many publishers, this new ad format could mark the first opportunity to make revenue off of all the video content they’ve been pushing on Facebook.
We only know a few details of these new mid-roll ads at this time. The ad split will give 55% to publishers, the same offered by YouTube. They will only run after viewers have been tuned in for 20 seconds. And for a video to contain ads, it must be at least 90 seconds long.
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As you know, one minute or less is currently the “perfect” length for Facebook videos. But if utilizing in-video ads requires a minimum of 90 seconds, publishers interested in taking advantage of this new revenue opportunity will have to adjust their approach.
The 20 second mark also raises questions. It’s safe to assume most publishers will want to run any ad as soon as they can, to maximize revenue potential. As such, many ads will start 20 seconds into a video.
How might creators craft those first 20 seconds to make the break feel natural? Will we see an emergence of “cliffhanger” moments at that cutoff, to keep viewers watching through the ad to see what happens next?
For Facebook’s standalone video ads, they require the videos to be in a 16:9 aspect ratio. This isn’t a requirement for non-ad content. Users and publishers alike are free to upload content in horizontal, square, or vertical formats. Will this rule stand for mid-roll ads?
Given that Facebook now specifically suggests square videos to creators, it seems unlikely they would force mid-roll ads to be horizontal. Doing so would prompt many creators to revert back to an overall horizontal strategy, undermining some of the steps Facebook has actively taken to favor square and vertical video content.
At this point, though, we simply don’t know what all the implications are for mid-roll ads. But we will be paying close attention as further details emerge. Video publishers of every size should pay attention, as well. After years of pushing content on Facebook, the time may finally be here to enjoy some financial return on those efforts!