That followed an Ad Age report last month that Facebook had pushed back plans to launch video advertising until early fall at the soonest. During the company’s earnings call last week, the company only said it was exploring building on its existing offering that allows marketers to add video to page post ads.
In what amounts to laying the groundwork for the video ad rollout, Nielsen today released findings from a Facebook-commissioned study highlighting the social network’s reach compared to TV. “Facebook can contribute significant incremental or duplicated reach to that of the TV networks,” especially among younger viewers,” according to the report.
Specifically, it shows Facebook has reach that is comparable to -- or higher than -- that of the four TV broadcast networks during the day. For the 25-34 age segment, the social network boasts an incremental 41% reach to the networks during the day.
During prime time, the TV networks overall reached more viewers than Facebook. But there was a lot of overlap between the two, meaning a marketer could reach the same people online as watching TV. In relation to the 25-34 demo, for example, Facebook contributed up to 36% duplicated reach to the networks.
Nielsen suggests, therefore, that Facebook is useful both in reaching (younger) audiences advertisers aren’t typically reaching through TV during the day, and in helping to reinforce messaging through cross-media efforts during prime time. Its past research has shown cross-media reach is “more effective in driving resonance than reach through a single media channel.”
In short, Nielsen, which has had a partnership with Facebook since 2009, is saying marketers can’t miss by running ads on Facebook throughout the day to cover audience gaps left by TV buys or to enhance the effectiveness of TV campaigns reaching the same audiences.
The Nielsen results were derived from its U.S. TV/Internet Data Fusion panel as of Oct. 2012, representing the total country’s total population of TV and PC users. But the debut of video ads on Facebook could also boost the company’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) service for measuring campaigns running on TV and online using a comparable GRP.
Nielsen wants OCR to become the industry standard currency for online planning and buying and providing comparable ratings figures for TV-type commercials on Facebook would bring increased visibility to the measurement offering. If widely adopted by advertisers, it could also help Facebook siphon more of the estimated $76 billion spent on TV advertising last year.
With 700 million daily active users globally, Facebook offers massive reach. Still, the reported Super Bowl-like asking prices for 15-second spots on Facebook aren’t a slam dunk, given that user reaction to autoplay commercials in their feed is still unclear.
One media buyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, also noted that Facebook will likely have to eliminate other news feed ad units to make room for the new video spots to keep from inundating users with ads. “This means video ad dollars will not all be incremental” to current spending levels on Facebook, he said.
When it comes to time spent, TV still far outpaces the Web. The average U.S. TV viewer watches 156 hours of TV a month, with the average PC owner spending 29 hours online a month, and the smartphone user spending 24 hours on the mobile Web and apps.