Facebook is home to a wide variety of publishers and creators who make videos that connect people, spark conversation and build community. Today we’re sharing updates on video distribution and our efforts to build effective video monetization tools for our partners that complement great viewing experiences for people:
- Video distribution: Updating News Feed ranking to improve distribution of videos that people actively want to watch — for example, videos from Pages that have strong repeat viewership.
- Ad Breaks: Improving the viewing experience for people by updating our guidelines for Ad Breaks, and providing new metrics for publishers and creators to understand how their Ad Breaks perform.
- Pre-roll: Testing pre-roll ads in places where people intentionally go to watch videos, like Watch.
Today, the majority of video discovery and watch time happens in News Feed. News Feed provides a great opportunity for publishers and creators to reach their audience, drive discovery, and start to build deeper connections for their content.
We are updating News Feed ranking to improve distribution of videos from publishers and creators that people actively want to watch. With this update, we will show more videos in News Feed that people seek out or return to watch from the same publisher or creator week after week — for example, shows or videos that are part of a series, or from partners who are creating active communities. Engaging one-off videos that bring friends and communities together have always done well in News Feed and will continue to do so.
We also want to make it easier for show creators to reach their existing community. For example, if your Show Page is linked to your existing Page, we will enable you to distribute episodes directly to all your followers. This will make it easier for show creators to grow an audience for new shows, and for people to connect with content they may be interested in. This is something many show creators have been asking for, and we will continue to improve the experience of creating and managing shows.
While News Feed will remain a powerful place for publishers and creators to grow and connect with their audience, over time we expect more repeat viewing and engagement to happen in places like Watch. The Discover tab in Watch will also prioritize shows that people come back to. As new shows build audiences, places like Watch are well suited for people to predictably catch up on the latest episodes and content from their favorite publishers and creators, and engage in a richer social viewing experience – for example, connecting with other fans in a dedicated Facebook Group for the show.
We are updating our monetization features to support the different types of video viewing experiences on our platform.
Branded content is a valuable way for publishers to generate more revenue and will continue to be available to all types of video on Facebook. We’ve seen a wide range of publishers and creators find success with branded content in News Feed, extending sponsorships or partnerships onto our platform in creative ways. Since the beginning of this year, the number of publishers and creators posting branded content each month has increased by 4x, driven in part by opening availability to all Pages.
Viewers tell us they prefer it when the video they are watching “merits” an Ad Break — for example, content they are invested in, content they have sought out, or videos from publishers or creators they care about and are coming back to. These videos tend to be longer, with more narrative development.
As a result, starting in January we will focus the expansion of Ad Breaks on shows, and Ad Break eligibility will shift to videos and episodes that are at least three minutes long, with the earliest potential Ad Break at the one minute mark. Previously, videos in the test were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were a minimum of 90 seconds, with the first Ad Break able to run at 20 seconds.
Our consumer research showed that moving from 90 second to three minute videos with Ad Breaks improved overall satisfaction. Furthermore, across initial testing, satisfaction increased 18% when we delayed the first Ad Break placement. Viewer satisfaction numbers are typically difficult to lift, so this indicates a positive shift — increasing the likelihood people will continue watching the content through the break.
To help creators and publishers better understand the performance of their Ad Breaks, we also recently introduced improvements to the metrics we provide. We added a dedicated Ad Break insights tab, so creators and publishers can view their video monetization performance in a dedicated place, separate from their video metrics. We also added two new metrics: Ad Break impressions at the video level and Ad Break CPMs at the video level.
Finally, we are updating the Live Ad Breaks test. The test will no longer support Profiles, and will only support Pages with more than 50k followers. We’re making these changes because we’ve found Profiles and Pages below this threshold are more likely to share live videos that fail to comply with our Content Guidelines for Monetization. Live video publishers below this threshold also tend to have smaller audiences for their broadcasts, and therefore aren’t able to garner meaningful revenue from Ad Breaks. We’ll continue to work jointly with our partners on testing and improving the product to deliver value.
Next year, we will begin testing pre-roll ads in places where people proactively seek out content, like Watch. While pre-roll ads don’t work well in News Feed, we think they will work well in Watch because it’s a place where people visit and come back to with the intention to watch videos. We’ll start with 6-second pre-roll with the goal of understanding what works best for different types of shows across a range of audiences.
We’re excited about the future, and we’re committed to providing our community of publishers and creators with the solutions they need to build a thriving business on our platform.