As you may have heard, Facebook is getting serious about video. This week’s announcement of a new video monetization (read: ads) strategy dispelled any remaining doubts on that matter.
Since the first introduction of videos on users’ News Feeds, Facebook has been in the constant process of improving the way users and businesses on the network interact with the content: the network launched the autoplay feature, allowed videos to be shared and embedded to third-party sites, and provided in-depth analytics on sponsored video content. And the efforts have paid off: video content on the network has grown 400 percent since the launch of Facebook videos, now averaging four billion views each day.
Facebook continues to fine-tune its video functionality, making small changes that often mean big consequences for businesses on the network. To save you some time, we have highlighted four major changes to Facebook videos—and how they can help your business make money.
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Facebook video monetization
On July 1st, Facebook announced a new monetization policy to encourage businesses to create and host video content on the network. The new system relies heavily on Facebook’s Suggested Video feature, which shows content similar to the video the user just watched. After watching a couple of videos, the user will see an ad, similar to the pre-roll ads one would see in a YouTube playlist. Unlike other Facebook videos, these ads will have sound on.
Revenue from sponsored Facebook videos will be based on several factors: the number of views the ad has received, the number of ads a user watched in a single viewing, and the amount of time the user spends on every video. Out of the total revenue, 55 percent of the money will go to the creator of the video content and 45 percent will go to Facebook. However, if the user watched several sponsored videos in one setting, those 55 percent will be further split between video creators.
The monetization initiative targets mobile Facebook users specifically, as they count for ¾ of the total video views on the network. This is also an area where Facebook already wins over YouTube, where half of the total views come from mobile users.
Facebook’s shared video ad revenue program is currently open for select content creators, such as Funny Or Die and Fox Sports, with promises to open up the program to other brands in the future. If your business has already been experimenting with video content on Facebook, you have a leg up; but if social video is a new area for you, now is a good time to start testing different kinds of content to see what resonates with your audience. Figure out the main goal for your videos: is it brand awareness or lead generation? Another important point to consider is length: now that the revenue split will be determined on how long the user spends watching your video, you’ll have to find that optimal time for keeping the viewer engaged but also doing so for a longer period of time.
Algorithm changes reward engaging video content
Facebook’s latest News Feed algorithm change will give more organic visibility to engaging video content. This means that if a user has interacted with your video—expanded to full-screen, turned up the volume, or enabled the high-definition format—it signals Facebook to show them other videos from your business, or similar video content from other sources.
This change was motivated by feedback from users who said they often enjoy watching Facebook videos, but don’t feel the need to share, like or comment on them. The new algorithm change will benefit the users as well as video creators, who will receive an organic traffic boost as a reward for posting high-quality content.
Facebook Insights for video data
Facebook has been rolling out other features to help advertisers benchmark the performance of sponsored video content. Facebook recently added a new Video tab to its Insights dashboard, which offers a look into views and 30-second views at a Page level, top videos within a certain date range, and metrics for videos shared from other Pages. This data takes the guesswork out of the process of finding the elements of the best video for your audience. Video Insights gives you information on the performance of individual videos, and how these compare to other videos you have shared.
Page administrators will also be able to compare the number of views generated organically versus paid advertising, and see how many videos were viewed through auto-play versus click-to-play. Brands will also be able to measure performance of sponsored videos over time, and see their top performers. The Video Insights tab is currently available to a limited number of Facebook Page managers, but it’s expected to launch globally in the coming weeks. The timing couldn’t be better—this way, advertisers can have hard evidence to back up their choice of sponsored video content to use in the new monetization initiative.
New payment system for Facebook videos
Finally, Facebook is making video ads more affordable for brands. The network has recently confirmed that it’s changing the way sponsored video views are priced. Now, instead of charging the advertiser as soon as the video appears in the user’s News Feed—similar to the cost-per-impression pricing system—Facebook advertisers will only pay for users who have made it past the ten-second mark in the video.
This may also change the way a view is qualified on Facebook: over the first few months of Facebook video ads, anything past three seconds counts as a view (versus 30-second rule for YouTube). The older system risked collecting exaggerated view counts without users actually watching the ads. Now, video content creators will pay for viewers who have shown that initial ten-second interest—and, once the shared revenue program kicks in, brands can get greater ROI for those ads.
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