For years, Facebook held off pre-roll video ads on the social network — that is, ads that play before the actual video starts. But now, it's changing its mind.
Facebook didn't want pre-roll ads messing up user experience because the thought was people didn't like them, and they either hinder user engagement or cause people to abandon videos altogether.
But as much as users hate pre-roll ads, advertisers love them. Not mid-roll ads, which play in the middle of a video, and certainly not end-roll ones. As a result, Facebook finally began testing pre-roll ads in 2018. Now, the company says that these tests are going well to the point where it's confident to put them in more places across Facebook.
Expect Pre-Roll Ads In More Place On Facebook
In a blog post published April 20, Facebook said it was going to place pre-roll ads in "places where people seek out videos, like in search results or on a Page timeline." Don't be surprised if you have to wait for five seconds before playing a video.
There's good news, though. Facebook is still not that confident in putting pre-roll ads on videos that appear along a user's News Feed, so for now, that area is safe. However, there's reason to believe this is just temporary, and that the actual goal is to push pre-roll ads into the News Feed in a gradual manner so as not to make the transition off-putting and sudden.
Videos That Can't Get Monetized
In addition to announcing a broader roll out for pre-roll ads, Facebook also detailed the types of video content that aren't eligible for monetization. The company said it wants to take away "incentives from content that creates less value for people." These include static or minimal-movement videos that just loop, or content from "content partners with paid arrangements for Pages to methodically and inorganically share videos."
Pages which often share repurposed clips from other content providers won't get in trouble just yet, but Facebook did say that it's going to "more deeply evaluate" and assess their distribution and monetization practices. Meaning, those pages might get less money for their videos.
The changes should be good news for Facebook's video business, which has grown considerably over the years and now includes a dedicated section called Watch, which boasts a small lineup of original programming.
Facebook says it has a long way to go with regard to improving video content and Facebook, but it remains "grateful to our partners who continue to create real value for their audiences by developing quality content and building engaged communities."