Facebook's rolling out the next stage of their planned video expansion, with Recode reporting that The Social Network will soon release a new mid-roll ad offering which will enable advertisers to insert video ads into clips after people have watched them for 20 seconds.
There are some provisos to this - mid-roll ads will only be available on video clips that are at least 90 seconds long, while the ads themselves will be limited to 15 seconds in length.
The change could introduce a whole lot of new considerations for Facebook video creators, whose primary focus thus far has been on maximizing initial views in the feed.
Facebook's own research shows that 47% of the value in a video campaign is delivered in the first three seconds, which aligns with Facebook's own threshold on what counts as a "video view". Given this, and lack of any real monetization model, increasing those video views, along with engagement (likes, shares and comments), has been a key driver of video success on the platform.
The addition of mid-roll ads - a way to make direct revenue from video content - will provide incentive for publishers to hold your attention beyond those initial few seconds, and to post longer videos in order to maximize their return.
The offering is similar to YouTube, and should make Facebook a more enticing video option for both publishers and advertisers.
For publishers, it'll give them an opportunity to start making real revenue from their Facebook efforts, with Facebook set to provide 55% of ad sales revenue back to them. For advertisers, it provides yet another way to reach audiences on the platform, utilizing their advanced ad targeting options (Marketing Land says that advertisers will be able to choose which categories their ads run in, e.g. 'sport' and 'humor', while also excluding them from non-relevant sections)
Up till now, Facebook's video ad revenue options have been limited. Unlike YouTube, Facebook's been notably opposed to pre-roll ads (Facebook says they wouldn't work on the platform), though that have been trialing different video ad offerings. They added a new 'Suggested videos' option for media partners last year and they've been testing out mid-roll ads within some Live videos, with a commercial breaks option built into the back-end code of Facebook Live, signaling where their future focus could be in this regard.
The announcement also comes at a time where Facebook is looking to push their video efforts on several fronts. They recently added 360 degree broadcasting to Facebook Live, expanded access to their automated video captions feature and have confirmed that their dedicated video tab within the Facebook app - a major step in their efforts to challenge YouTube - is being rolled out to more users.
Facebook's also been ramping up their Facebook Live advertising strategy, looking to prompt more people to 'go live' with ads appearing on the sides of buses, on billboards, even in airports, with ideas on what to broadcast.
Given the focus, you can expect Facebook to continue its aggressive push on video content to continue into 2017, and for more ad options like mid-roll and live ads to crop up.
And if video takes off the way Facebook hopes it will, making it a genuine TV rival, the opportunities could be significant.
Watch this space.