Commexis Cast – July 18, 2018: Facebook Mid-Roll Ads Are Kind of Working?

Today’s Commexis Cast discusses publishers finding more success this year with Facebook midroll ads than previously expected. Is this a sign of more midroll ad to come?

Digiday’s Sahil Patel spoke to six publishers about their stats with Facebook’s video ad breaks program. In essence, advertisers could place midroll ads in videos that were at least 3 minutes long, with at least 1 minute of uninterrupted video before the ad would play. This is one opportunity, along with Facebook Watch, that aims to help creators monetize their videos. While the program wasn’t delivering much in 2017, the tide seems to be turning, however slightly, in 2018.

Patel writes that one publisher’s mid-roll ad revenue “grew by 10-40 percent depending on the page from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2018, and is on track to make more than $10 million from the mid-rolls this year. A second publisher said Facebook mid-rolls are on pace to be a “double-digit-million-dollar business” for the publisher this year. ”

An executive from a publisher said that the checks are consistently approaching six digits figures, which is a significant increase from 2017.

What I find so fascinating about this is Facebook’s slow move towards a traditional TV like ad layout. As I mentioned in our podcast about YouTube increasing ad numbers on longer videos, a traditional ad layout may not harm watch rates when implemented slowly. Patel spoke to an exec Facebook Watch publisher who said, “TV has four minutes of ad time for every 11 minutes of content; Facebook Watch has a fraction of a fraction of that. They’re going to expand the ad load, but in the short term, they’re inching into it so they don’t piss off users and create scarcity for the inventory as it opens up.”

In that same YouTube podcast Phillip and I discussed how creators are intentionally creating their content to increase the likelihood of ads, showing that creators aren’t against significant mid-roll ad placements despite the bad rap mid-roll ads get. After all, nothing hurts more than watching a 30 second ad before a video of the same length. However, in the era where YouTube and Facebook Watch are encouraging longer videos, perhaps mid-roll ads aren’t as bad.

Today’s cast: Phillip Brooks (Commexis Lead Strategist) and Matthew McGrorty (Commexis Videographer/Podcaster).

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