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Comparison of the viewing time of Facebook video advertisements between formats

A video ad is a video ad is a video ad. Except that it is not, according to Facebook. The social network would argue that video ads – and the values ​​of those ads – vary by context. In fact, this is what a company blog published on Friday.

"There is no single mobile video experience." Instead, there are a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach, "wrote Mark Rabkin, responsible for commercials and Facebook's business platform.

To illustrate this point, Facebook has produced graphs that show how long people usually spend watching an ad and how the viewing time fluctuates according to its environment.

What the graphs show

Before looking at maps, it is important to understand what is or is not shown.

No Digits: None of the graphs include numbers, and a Facebook spokesperson declined to provide the actual figures, making them more suggestive than conclusive.

Facebook-centric data: The charts are largely based on unaudited internal data from Facebook as of August 2017, with the exception of YouTube data extracted from this website. and a survey of 100 TV live viewers that she had ordered in March 2017. So, while some cards include logos from other companies selling some video ad slots, like Snap and Hulu, graphics should not be considered representative of the performance of corresponding video ads.

Viewing duration, no completion rate: The completion rate, or percentage of viewing of a video, is generally used to assess the ability of A video to attract the attention of Internet users. But this is not what is shown here. Instead, Facebook uses watch time, or the actual number of seconds that a viewing session lasted before a person stopped watching an ad, then plotted that information to show what percentage of sessions reached every second (without using markers to indicate seconds on the map).

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This choice of using the viewing time instead of the completion rate can upset things a bit, since ad lengths can vary even in the same context. For example, Facebook has begun testing six-second pre-roll ads in addition to its mid-roll ads that can last up to 15 seconds. Hypothetically, while the majority of InStream ads on Facebook are six-second pre-roll spots and people are still watching these non-skippable pre-rolls, the Timeline of Facebook's non-skippable in-stream ads might look like it's not the same. there is a significant drop in the number of viewers after six seconds. This can be interpreted as meaning that people's attention is usually raised to six seconds – whether the advertisement is pre-roll or mid-roll and whatever its duration – while it would be more accurate to say that advertisements are usually maximum (although both could be true).


Source: Facebook

Here is an explanation of what each graph represents and how Facebook used the respective data:

  • The "Feeds" chart is based on videos inserted as standalone ads in Facebook's news feed that aired in August 2017.
  • The "Skippables" table is made up of In-Stream video ads that people can ignore after a while and run on the Audience Network ad network of third-party sites and apps, as well as on YouTube. in August 2017.
  • The "Non-skippable" chart is based on in-stream video ads that users can not ignore and that were posted to Facebook in August 2017.
  • The "Stories" graph is based on full-screen vertical video ads inserted in the Instagram Stories thread in August 2017.
  • The "Live TV" graphic represents advertisements broadcast in linear live television shows. It is from a study commissioned by Facebook on 100 US adults in March 2017.
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What do the graphics mean

The charts indicate that non-skippable video ads – the type that Facebook sells as an in-stream video ads placement option – even outperform live TV when it's over-the-air. is to keep people's attention. This suggests that advertisers might as well take the money that they spend on standalone video ads, skippable video ads, TV commercials – and even vertical video ads in Story feeds, such as Instagram and Snapchat – and redirect these dollars towards pre-skippables. rolls of rollers and half-rolls.

But even if Facebook is hissing this advice, it's not really a zero-sum suggestion. Neither does it need to, since the company sells all the other investments examined, with the exception of linear television. Instead, Facebook says advertisers should add the value of their video ads to different scales.

"There is more unique video experience for advertisers," Rabkin wrote. It can be harder to get twenty or so videos to view a story ad for 10 seconds than to invite an older person to watch for 10 seconds a non-skippable in-stream video ad. The value of these views should therefore be evaluated accordingly. "Moreover, these 10 seconds do not tell us much about the value created, because the duration data are not enough to fully predict the results of the company through different experiences," writes Rabkin.

This is to say that Facebook does not want advertisers to face comparison of success rates between different locations and platforms and excluding those who fail. Instead, he wants them to find reasons to spend their money on many sites (which Facebook will sell all) and that they adopt ways of attributing the opinions of these placements to conversion events like product sales. ]

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In other words, a video ad is not a video ad, it's not a video ad, but all video ads have value, at least according to Facebook.

About the author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has been reporting for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. Angeleno, born and raised, graduated from the University of New York, currently lives in Los Angeles.

He broke stories on Snapchat's advertising plans, Jason Kilar's attempt at founding CEO of Hulu, to turn to YouTube and assembling the ad-tech battery of Amazon; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's advertising ambitions and increased blocking of ads; and recorded the largest annual event of the VidCon digital video, the BuzzFeed brand video production process and the Snapchat Discover ads charge six months after its launch. He has also developed tools to monitor the early adoption of live applications by brands, compare search patterns from Yahoo and Google, and review the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.