Industry reaction: What does Facebook's launch of premium video ads mean for users and marketers?

By Jessica Davies | News Editor

March 16, 2014 | 4 min read

Last week Facebook rolled out its much-anticipated premium video ads in beta to a select group of advertisers.

The social network has stated that the ad-buying process will be “similar to how advertisers already buy and measure ads on TV”, which centres on using TV metric targeted Gross Rating Points to reach a specific audience. Delivery is being measured by an independent third party, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR), and advertisers only pay based on what Nielsen OCR measures.

Each 15-second video ad will start playing without sound as it appears on screen and stop if people scroll past. If people tap the video, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start. People can expect to begin seeing thee new ads come through in their feeds over the next few months.

It's early days but The Drum has gathered a few preliminary thoughts from video experts as to what the move may signal for advertisers.

James Booth, founder, Rockabox

Video has been at the heart of online advertising for over 10 years and remains the most powerful device for user engagement, so I’m surprised we haven’t seen a move like this from Facebook until now. That said, it has to be right – users will not tolerate an intrusive approach to video integration that interferes with their Facebook sessions; equally, brands would be mad to embrace anything within Facebook that doesn’t put the user experience and lack of disruption first. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out for mobile users where connectivity issues risk introducing load problems; my guess is that the scrolling function within a mobile experience will effectively launch each video in the feed as the user looks for news items.If that is the case, there will be kickbacks. Facebook can’t ignore video, it has to have a response; I look forward to seeing it play out.

Jools Moore, founder and creative director, Contented London

Hopefully Facebook’s new video spots will prompt 15 seconds of creativity from brands, but only time will tell whether the AceMetrix ‘quality control’ analytics will credit true creativity or just churn out ads from big brands with deep pockets. The space should inspire and engage Facebook users (rather than bore them with another ad break), so clever, targeted short-form brand content could be more successful than online video ads - especially if there’s an opportunity to share.

Nick Reid, UK managing director, TubeMogul

Facebook's adoption of video ads will only further propel the momentum of the convergence of TV and digital video. While advertisers have historically struggled to unify their media buys across devices due to the lack of a standardised metrics, the combination of accurate age and gender data, which helps power Nielsen's Oinline Campaign Ratings (OCR), will help advertisers bridge that gap, as will other tools built around Nielsen OCR.No matter the perception of the video ads when they launch (multiple delays suggest Facebook wants to get this perfect), Facebook's reach is too big for advertisers to completely ignore, as is the built-in functionality for sharing ads with friends.

Pierre Chappaz, CEO and founder, Ebuzzing

I’m not surprised that Facebook has launched this video format. What does surprise me is how long it has taken for this product to be available to the market. Similar native video formats have been available for almost a year, and have been found to be extremely popular with both advertisers and publishers. Given that our native video format has yielded excellent results we expect Facebook’s version to follow suit. Native video is the video advertising format of the future. Our focus is to offer it to brands in the most premium environments, thanks to our global network of media partners.

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