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Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Video Ad Formats

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Video Ad Formats

June 21, 2016

As the power of video advertising and marketing grows, the battle between Facebook, YouTube, and other large publishers is starting to heat up. Most recently, Facebook took a major step forward by updating its Audience Network to allow for more functionality and new opportunities for advertisers.

The Growth of Video Marketing

It’s pretty obvious that video is the present and future of digital marketing in the internet age. There’s simply no way to remain competitive without investing a healthy percentage of your resources into this medium. In order to gain a full appreciation for just how valuable video marketing is, check out the following updated statistics for 2016:

  • Social video generates roughly 1200 percent more shares than both text and images combined.
  • Brands that use video see 41 percent more search traffic than brands that have yet to invest in video.
  • High quality videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 80 percent or more. Videos on homepages may increase conversions by 20 percent or more.
  • 70 percent of marketers believe video produces more conversions than any other form of content.

There are hundreds of other statistics just like this, but you get the idea. Video should be the crux of any modern digital marketing strategy.

Facebook’s New Video Ad Formats

In the past, YouTube has been the premier solution for brands looking to invest in high returning video marketing. But we may be in the middle of a significant shift. It’s no secret that Facebook has challenged YouTube over the past few years, but things just got interesting with the recent introduction of new video ad formats on Facebook.

Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the fact that native Facebook video uploads enjoy a 10-times higher reach than shared YouTube links, the social media giant is hoping to take another major step forward. They are doing so by making two major changes to the previous video setup.

“We’re extending Audience Network to include videos from advertisers looking to drive brand outcomes,” Facebook explained in a May 16 release. “Now, in addition to watching these videos on Facebook and Instagram, people will view them on the other apps and sites where they spend their time.”

In other words, the first change means video ads are no longer isolated to Facebook. They can actually become part of a different publisher’s content – just as YouTube has allowed for years.

“The company for the first time is extending that network to serve video ads on mobile and desktop browsers, giving marketers the ability to run those ads as preroll, midroll or postroll in video content instead of just standalone ad units,” says Maureen Morrison of AdAge. “Instead of direct response pitches common to mobile advertising, Facebook wants the new formats to carry branding messages.”

The ability to choose between three different ad placements is big for advertisers. Each has its own uses and unique value.

  • Pre-roll. Brands typically view pre-roll ads as most valuable. Since they are displayed in advance of the actual video content, viewers have to stick around and wait until the ad plays. However, there’s always the risk of losing viewers due to pre-roll ad abandonment. Ultimately, though, the research shows that pre-roll pays off.
  • Mid-roll. When ads are displayed mid-roll, there’s a higher completion rate than both pre- roll and post-roll ads. The problem is that many viewers don’t actually make it to the middle of a video. This means mid-roll ads need to be well-timed and developed in conjunction with the video content.
  • Post-roll. Finally, there’s post-roll. While only used in very specific situations, post-roll ads can deliver immense value when used in conjunction with a video playlist or relevant call-to-action.

Simply having the ability to choose between these three ad placement formats means Facebook is taking a massive step forward with its network of advertisers. More flexibility ultimately signals more advertising revenue.

The second major change involves Facebook video ads that actually appear within the Facebook network. In-article video ads will now appear on mobile pages of publishers between text paragraphs and will automatically play when half of the pixels are viewable on the screen. However, users will still have to opt-in to hear the audio.

This looks to be an ideal situation for everyone involved. Facebook, its investors, publishers, and content creators should all benefit.

“With more places to deliver content, we can better maximize value for advertisers who want more brand exposure through video,” Facebook pointed out in the same May release. “Globally, advertisers that opt-in to the Audience Network can generate approximately 10% more incremental reach than using mobile News Feed alone. Plus, we increase our ability to show the most relevant ads to each viewer.”

Facebook Continues to Focus on Mobile Video


Over the past year, Facebook has been very vocal about it’s prioritization of mobile – and specifically mobile video. It’s clear that the company is putting its money where its mouth is. Morrison notes that Facebook’s first quarter numbers shattered Wall Street’s expectations. Facebook enjoyed a 58.6 percent year-over-year increase in ad revenue – equaling $5.2 billion. Mobile ad revenue also surged, accounting for an astounding 82 percent of total ad revenue. That figure is up from 73 percent in quarter one of 2015.

Industry experts believe that the ability to buy video advertising on Instant Articles and through the Audience Network will fuel even more growth for Facebook. A lot of money is now flowing into video, and these additions give Facebook better access to some of the inventory that otherwise isn’t contained within the Facebook app.

Frankly, Facebook’s new video ad formats are a direct challenge to Google. It’s pretty clear that they’re set on knocking out Google – or at least becoming a serious competitive threat to YouTube.

Contact Verta Media Today


At Verta Media, we’re actively redefining excellence in online advertising. Our supply side platform is designed to facilitate efficient video ad selling workflows that bring our clients higher ROI and better brand awareness. If you’re interested in increasing the efficacy of your brand’s evolving video marketing strategy, then please contact us today!