Brace yourself for a whole lot more mid-roll ads in Facebook videos

Facebook has expanded its trial of in-stream video ads beyond Facebook Live - reportedly even testing mid-roll ads in videos from publishers as it seeks to better monetize the video content on its platform.

According to Recode, Facebook is testing these ads with a small number of US publishers – letting publishers keep 55% of the revenue and retaining 45% for itself.

Per Recode, the video must run for at least 20 seconds prior to the first in-stream ad and additional ads must be at least two minutes apart.

Marketing Land said Facebook would not share which publishers were testing mid-roll ads or where the ads ran. In addition, Marketing Land noted advertisers have limited control over which videos – live or otherwise – get their in-stream ads.

TechCrunch said this could also change the way videos are produced for Facebook as publishers may seek to build suspense in order to sustain interest through ad breaks.

The news comes after Facebook announced it was testing mid-roll ads within Facebook Live in August. These ads appear five minutes into live broadcasts and are 15 seconds or less.

It's big news for publishers that have struggled to monetize video content on Facebook to date, Recode said, noting the timing is not coincidental as many deals Facebook had with influencers to push live video are ending soon and Facebook does not plan to renew them.

In a blog post, Facebook said it is also expanding in-stream video ads to all eligible publishers in its Audience Network. The platform announced an initial test of in-steam video ads on Audience Network, the service that places ads from Facebook advertisers onto third party websites and apps, in May.

“Publishers have historically been wary of video ads delivered from networks or exchanges because they can load slowly and are often unreliable,” Facebook said in a blog post. “With Audience Network, advertisers upload their ads and bids to Facebook in advance – allowing us to quickly run an auction and return an ad that’s a good experience for the person watching it.”

Facebook said publishers like Univision and Collective Press have tested these in-stream ads to date.

In addition, Facebook said it is expanding the ability to test Ad Breaks in Facebook Live to US pages or profiles with 2,000 or more followers that have reached 300 or more concurrent viewers in a recent live video.

“As the name implies, Ad Breaks allow creators to take short breaks for ads during their live videos,” Facebook said. “When a broadcaster chooses to take an ad break, people watching the video will see an in-stream ad of up to 15 seconds in length. The broadcaster will earn a share of the resulting ad revenue.”

Live broadcasters can take their first Ad Breaks after four minutes and can take additional breaks after a minimum of five minutes between each break, Facebook said. Each Ad Break lasts up to 20 seconds.

Marketing Land noted eligible broadcasters do not have to maintain simultaneous viewership of at least 300 viewers at the time an ad is inserted.

Ad Breaks are available to US broadcasters, but Facebook said it hopes to eventually expand.