From minute-long cooking videos to captioned news clips, videos have become the most eye-catching components of the Facebook timeline.
With Facebook users watching 100 million hours of video per day in 2016, Facebook has taken note. The social media platform recently announced that it will add “mid-roll” advertisements to videos and share 55 percent of the ad revenue with the companies that publish them. The ad format is currently being tested in Facebook Live.
This development is huge for platforms like NowThis and AJ+, which report news and human interest stories via video, as well as for media like Buzzfeed—especially with its food-focused Tasty branch. In the 21st century, you can watch a pair of hands prepare a bowl of sweet and sour pork in just a minute and 15 seconds.
According to Locowise, the average Facebook video in 2015 was just under a minute long. Mid-roll advertisements run in the middle of a video. This is in contrast to “pre-roll” advertisements, which run before the video plays, which are used mostly on platforms like YouTube.
Recode reported that these ads would appear 20 or 90 seconds into a video. It seems pretty obnoxious to have a 20 second-long ad disrupt a minute-long video. To Facebook, however, using mid-roll ads could implicitly incentivize content creators to post videos that will hold users’ attention for at least 20 seconds.
Locowise also reported that Facebook users, on average, only viewed a third of a video: With the average video being about 55 seconds long, the average viewing time amounted to about 18 seconds. (http://locowise.com/blog/17-facebook-video-facts-and-insights-you-need-to-know)
Facebook’s proposed 55 percent shared revenue rate is similar to YouTube’s. YouTube, the Internet’s favorite video-sharing giant (http://www.alexa.com/topsites), has facilitated the growth of a generation of videographers and vloggers who have been able to profit from their own videos, and Facebook intends to do the same for media companies.
While individual users may not be able to make money from silly videos of drunk family members, Facebook’s move to fund video publishers shows the medium’s potential. This shows promise for careers like reporting and marketing that are inevitably becoming more multimedia-based.
Facebook recently faced controversy over allowing the spread of “fake news,” especially during the 2016 presidential election. Perhaps the platform is trying to make amends with media companies in general, yet Facebook has not yet publicly defined which publishers would qualify to receive ad revenue.
By Carina Vo