Media Buyers Cautious Of Facebook Video Ads

Facebook in March formally announced the launch of Premium Video Ads following prior delays and months, if not years, of speculation about the new format. On Thursday, a panel of agency executives at OMMA Video convened to discuss the rollout of the autoplay video ads, which run in users’ news feeds and are still in beta testing with a small set of initial brands including NBC. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Go big or go home – Premium Video Ads on Facebook are all about making a big splash in a short period -- the social network’s answer to the home page takeover on traditional big sites. The tradeoff is the lack of niche audience targeting Facebook is known for. “This is not a highly targeted product at all, “ said Mike Walker, senior director of strategy, Blinq Media.

TV-like pricing – With Facebook asking upwards of $1 million for video ad buys, the 15-second ad spots don’t come cheap. That means taking a cautious approach before leaping in. Josh Bochner, founder and chief strategist, Pantomime Creative Group, said he would want to do “extreme” testing of ad creative and user engagement before launching any large-scale campaign.

Promising results – Facebook has been tight-lipped about early results from video ad campaigns to date, but company product staff tell Walker they’re seeing CPMs comparable to TV on buys reaching 10 million to 50 million on a single day. CPVs (cost-per-view) are also competitive with those on YouTube. 

Widening Rollout – Facebook will gradually expand to video ads to more advertisers in the third and fourth quarters, according to Megan Black, vice president, group director (media) at Piston. The company on Wednesday announced it was extending video ads outside the U.S., starting with a group of countries including the U.K., Brazil, Australia and Germany.

Creative options – Features like the ability to tap to expand videos and run multiple videos within a single ad unit will open up creative possibilities for agencies and advertisers. The fact that ads begin playing without sound will force marketers to be creative in capturing the attention of users.

Jury’s out on GRPs - using Targeted Gross Ratings Points for video ad buys on Facebook will provide a universal metric across screens, but undercuts value of granular targeting on Facebook. Lesley Pinckney, VP, interactive, at Walton Isaacson, suggested social sharing of video ads on Facebook could boost reach in ways TV can’t.


4 comments about "Media Buyers Cautious Of Facebook Video Ads".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, May 23, 2014 at 12:25 p.m.

    Media Buyers always take a cautious approach to everything. That's why they continue to put most of their money in a depreciating medium: Prime time network TV

  2. Sara Duane-Gladden from, May 23, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.

    It's not highly targeted and it autoplays videos so visitors will have to scramble to hit the mute or pause buttons. Just asking for more people to sign up to AdBlock and FlashBlock. Caution is a good idea here.

  3. Matt Cooper from Addroid, May 23, 2014 at 1:41 p.m.

    Walter, speaking of deprecation, when they do buy digital they still buy/traffic Flash based ad units which are failing 20% of the time. Of course on mobile they buy static JPGs, and ad format from 20 years ago.

    My assertion, I admit, is self serving as I'm all in on autoplay video yet I still feel the point is valid that the marketplace in general needs to rethink the lather, rinse, repeat approach of a process and tech from the 90's.

  4. Grant Bergman from •, May 23, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.

    I note that these discussions of Facebook's efforts to monetize never include a discussion of what they do to the user experience (i.e., usually they erode it). There's an assumption – and to a large extent an accurate one – that Facebook users are so committed to the platform that they'll put up with unlimited tinkering and erosion of the user experience. True enough that I'm not leaving FB over these video ads, but I would counsel FB advertisers to think about what their ads do to the user experience: they are the ones who will be blamed by users who object strongly to the intrusion.

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