Facebook and Instagram are testing ads in the middle of videos

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Facebook and Instagram are testing ads in the middle of videos

In a move that’s likely to have been inspired by YouTube, Facebook is exploring new ways to generate revenue from content creators by testing ads in the middle of videos.

As Recode reported last week, Facebook plans to sell space for these “mid-roll” ads to advertisers and share 55% of the revenue they generate with the original publishers. This can be directly compared to YouTube (who are one of Facebook’s largest competitors), as they currently share 55% of the revenue generated from popular videos with content creators.

In an extension of this, Instagram (who is owned by Facebook) have also launched video ads for Stories last week. According to a recent report from Ad Age, Facebook notified advertisers that they will start seeing the option to include ads in both “live” and “formally live” videos last Tuesday.

However, unlike Facebook, it has been revealed that the revenue from these ads would not be shared with the original content creator.

When it comes to Facebook, Recode has also noted that the tests for mid-roll ads will come with a few limitations. For example, they will only be included in videos that are at least 90 seconds long, and the viewer will need to watch a video for at least 20 seconds to be served an ad.

The hope is that thus will ensure publishers are more likely to create videos that hold the attention of Facebook users.

The TJM take: We know, we know; pretty much every social platform is experimenting with video ads (including Twitter and Snapchat). However, although this may work for Facebook (as its users are used to being served ads on the platform), this might not be necessarily true of Instagram.

Why is this? Well, as Facebook will be following a similar plan of attack as YouTube, it’s reasonable to assume that these mid-roll ads will quickly be accepted as part of the video viewing process. However, we’d argue that Instagram Stories are more intimate, and users may not be best pleased with having an ad interrupt what’s supposed to be a quick and easy to digest feed of snippets.

Another snag (as Recode has also pointed out) is that YouTube has also faced problems with publishers feeling they were not making enough money from their videos. Is this an issue Facebook and Instagram will also face?

We guess only time will tell, and we’re interested to see if Facebook’s mid-roll ads will also become a permanent feature…

*Image source: BBC News

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