Mid roll ads
With the launch of mid-roll ads, Facebook looks a lot more like a futuristic TV channel than a social media platform. There’s less sharing how you feel and more paid content. Remember when your timeline was packed full of your friends’ status updates and the odd, blurry picture taken on someone’s flip phone? Yeah, me neither. Times sure have changed. Nowadays, we’re lucky if we catch anything original amidst a slew of sponsored content and branded videos. However, change brings with it opportunity, and Facebook heard it knocking. If you’ve watched any videos on the social network lately, you may have noticed something new. Those are Facebook’s new “mid-roll” ads. They’re probably the only more annoying thing than the industry standard pre-roll ads. You’ll see them in live video as well, though the criteria is slightly different. Videos need to be live for at least four minutes before an ad break can occur. Plus, the stream must have at least 300 viewers at any one time. We’ve seen this coming. You can call it a throwback to cable TV commercials. Facebook hopes that if you’re watching a video or live event, you’ll be committed enough to stick around by the time the mid-roll ad plays. Publishers will say it’s about damn time. They’ve been aiming to get paid for their videos for a while now, and it looks like that’s finally happening. We can only see this practice expanding, for Facebook and beyond. As television becomes fully digital, we can expect other platforms to offer their own original content. Facebook will even have an original TV show (technically a web series) soon called City Girl. Digital comedy publisher Super Deluxe will launch the comedy this year. The show will feature mid-roll ads giving it the look and feel of a traditional television show. Super Deluxe is a beta partner for Facebook’s mid-roll ads program and will get 55 percent of all ad revenue. Though the move to lengthier content on platforms makes sense, it’s still risky. People are used to working with Facebook and other mobile apps a certain way, scrolling through content as fast as they can. Getting viewers to re-learn Facebook will be a challenge, especially changing habits that are so deeply instilled within millennials and Gen Z.Whether mid-roll and TV like content do well on mobile devices or not, we believe that a Facebook TV app is in the making. Bringing Facebook videos, live or not, to the big screen is a clear next step and competitors will naturally follow suit.