In a break from past practice, Facebook has announced that it will test pre-roll, six-second ads on the videos in its Watch hub and other video-centric areas starting in January. While the pre-rolls will not show up in News Feed for now, they will live in what the company described as “places where people intentionally go to watch videos.”
The company has eschewed pre-rolls for years, using mid-roll ads as breaks. A company blog post addressed to the media from product management director Maria Angelidou-Smith and product manager Abhishek Bapna announced the change, billing it as a way to build “effective video monetization tools for our partners that complement great viewing experiences for people.”
The post noted that the majority of video discovery happens in News Feed. The ranking there will be updated, the managers said, and will show more videos that people are watching frequently, “for example, shows or videos that are part of a series, or from partners who are creating active communities. Engaging one-off videos that bring friends and communities together have always done well in News Feed and will continue to do so.”
Facebook also claimed that branded content has increased each month by 4x from publishers and creators.
Starting in January, Facebook will focus the expansion of Ad Breaks on shows, and Ad Break eligibility will shift to videos and episodes that are at least three minutes long, with the earliest potential Ad Break at the one minute mark. Previously, videos in the test were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were a minimum of 90 seconds, with the first Ad Break able to run at 20 seconds.