Facebook's New Video Ads Gunning for Television Money

By Steve Anderson March 13, 2014

The video ad is one that's been with us for a long time, before even the Web got started, but as video ads became big business—and how!--so too did interest in getting a piece of the action spark up. Few websites could command the kind of sheer raw numbers that television could, but for those venues, the idea that television-marketing budgets could hit the Web was still a bit of an upward climb. Facebook, meanwhile, is one such venue, and its new video advertising product has only recently released, with an eye toward getting in on the bigger-budgeted advertiser.

Facebook has been testing said video advertising product—broken up into 15-second spots—since December, and has delayed the rollout of same several times at last report. But advertising partners in the United States will get access starting today, at least those that Facebook selects for such access. While this is pretty big news by any stretch, there are also a pair of new features arriving in the pipe for Facebook advertisers: the ability to schedule the time of day in which an ad appears, and the ability to set an ad in terms of reach and frequency, some comparatively standard scheduling systems, at least for other media.

Basically, Facebook is ratcheting up the quality of the advertising experience, instead of simply showing more ads to its user base. Given that reports from ZenithOptimedia suggest that advertisers will spend 60 percent more on television advertising than on its digital media counterpart, it makes some sense that Facebook is fighting back by going after the television ad spend.

The ads in question—roughly the same length and composition as the standard television equivalent of 15 seconds each—will sell at prices between $1 million and $2.5 million a day, according to reports. No user will see more than three show up in a feed each day, and the ads are set to be reviewed by advertising evaluation firm Ace Metrix, Inc. before said ads air to ensure quality.

This is actually a very big step for Facebook, and one that all reports have suggested is being worked on very carefully. This may well give Facebook the opportunity it needs to go from social media startup to significant advertising vector in the minds of advertisers, especially if these ads work. Indeed, there's little reason why the ads should fail; Facebook certainly has the gross numbers to keep up with most any prime-time matter, and Facebook can do an excellent job of targeting said advertising to the most relevant sectors possible. The new controls on scheduling should be a particular help, and some reports suggest that the average reach on a Facebook targeted campaign is around 92 percent accurate.

Online advertising has always been something of an also-ran in the field of marketing, but incredible reach coupled with excellent targeting—along with the increasing viewership woes spotted on some prime-time television—make for a package that's hard to resist. Facebook's efforts may not go according to plan, but there's certainly an excellent chance of success here.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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