Facebook extends video advertising to Audience Network

Audience Network is a collection of third-party apps and sites that advertisers can use to extend the reach of their Facebook and Instagram ads


Facebook’s focus on video ad format is in line with the burgeoning video consumption worldwide including India. Photo: Reuters
Facebook’s focus on video ad format is in line with the burgeoning video consumption worldwide including India. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: Don’t be surprised if while reading a fashion piece on a digital publication you end up checking a Maybelline video ad. Social media giant Facebook, in its quest to dominate the digital video advertising landscape, extended two new types of video ads to its Audience Network on Tuesday.

Audience Network is a collection of third-party apps and sites that advertisers can use to extend the reach of their Facebook and Instagram ads. It was launched globally in 2014.

Facebook will sell in-stream (pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll) and in-article (starting with Instant Articles) ads, both on the desktop and mobile.

In-stream ads are video ads that may appear pre, mid, or post-roll while viewing partner content. They are typically up to 15-20 seconds long. In–article video ads will appear between paragraphs of text and play automatically when at least half the pixels are viewable. The revenue sharing model for these ads has not been specified by Facebook.

This gives marketers a larger ecosystem beyond the Facebook news feed and Instagram to drive brand recall and awareness. So, if a user is spending more time on a particular app than Facebook, then the ad will appear on that app.

“Globally, advertisers that opt in to the Audience Network can generate approximately 10% more incremental reach compared to using the mobile News Feed alone,” said Facebook in a blog post announcing the launch of the new service.

Facebook’s focus on video ad format is in line with the burgeoning video consumption worldwide including India. The social media platform claims that 100 million hours of video is being watched on its platform every day.

“To my mind the biggest reason behind Facebook’s move is that users are moving towards video consumption. Facebook wants to own the discovery market because Google is a strong player in search. One of the biggest revenue source for Google is its video streaming platform, YouTube, which has been around for a long time and owns a sizeable chunk of money,” says Nimesh Shah, co-founder, Windchimes Communications, a Mumbai- based social media agency.

Owing to the immense user generated data, Facebook can provide highly targeted ads to advertisers as they know their users well.

“In a bid to kill the YouTube market, the only missing part was the availability. The ads were only available on Facebook and Instagram and now they have been made available to the Audience Network (third party apps and websites) increasing the reach,” explains Shah.

Earlier the video itself on Facebook was a campaign unlike YouTube, where it appeared before video content as pre-roll. But will it act as an irritant for users?

Shah disagrees. “If a user wants to read or watch superior quality content then either he/she has to pay a subscription fee or watch ads. The ads per se are an irritant but the onus lies on the marketer how interesting or relevant they make it for the user,” he notes.

Muddassar Memon, associate vice president - creative and social, of digital marketing agency iProspect India, believes brands that directly deal with FMCG products, travel products, accessories, food, and other retail goods will benefit from these video ads. In his opinion, Facebook will win the race when it comes to video ads, because people come on its platform to get updates about things they like or prefer, whereas Google is a general search engine that provides solution to queries asked.

“So when users are already getting the content of their choice, without searching, then clearly Facebook will lead the race and brands can leverage this,” he said. iProspect, a Dentsu network company, has been using the Audience Network to run ads for its clients.

A recent report by EY on Future of Digital Content Consumption in India states that in 2015 out of 351 million internet subscribers in India 167 million are smartphone while 105 million are broadband users. Clearly, smartphone is leading the internet consumption in the country. The report goes on to state that there were a total of 110 million digital video users in 2015.

Vuclip, mobile video-on-demand firm’s recent report Global Video Insights Report 2015 further strengthens this fact with a finding that around 65% of video content is consumed on mobile networks in India.

Meanwhile, experts believe that the move is Facebook’s way to be present wherever video content is being consumed.

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