Facebook Is Expanding Ad Breaks for Live and Uploaded Video

Also testing in-stream spots for publisher websites

Publishers can now use Facebook's Audience Network for in-stream videos on their own websites, along with ad breaks for on-demand videos within Facebook. Facebook
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Publishers and creators might soon be able to make more money off their Facebook video content.

Facebook is introducing or expanding three types of video ads for both the social network and publishers’ websites: in-stream video ads for publisher websites, expanding ad breaks for Facebook Live videos within Facebook’s own app and ad breaks for publisher videos uploaded to Facebook.

The additions could be a boon for media companies anxious to get more revenue from the content they produce for the tech juggernaut that refuses to call itself a media company.

“Whether on Facebook or off, we’re committed to continuing to work with our partners to develop new monetization products and ad formats for digital video,” Nick Grudin’s Facebook’s vp of partnerships, said in a statement. “It’s early days, but today’s updates are a step towards this goal.”

As a part of the updates, announced today, publishers using Facebook’s Audience Network targeting capabilities can begin monetizing in-stream ads to reach specific audience segments. In a blog post, Facebook vp of product solutions Brian Boland and product manager Maria Angelidou-Smith said publishers with available inventory will be able to show more relevant video ads across mobile and desktop devices.

“Publishers have historically been wary of video ads delivered from networks or exchanges because they can load slowly and are often unreliable,” they wrote. “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.”

In May, Facebook began running tests for in-stream ads via FAN, which Facebook said has shown promising results for publishers such as Univision and Collective Press. For example, Univision has been using the format to help its direct sales business in the U.S., Colombia, Argentina and Mexico—with cost-per-impression in the U.S. reportedly 52 percent higher than with other partners.

Along with in-stream ads on publishers websites, Facebook is also expanding its capabilities for ad breaks during live streams. After a few months of tests with video creators, Facebook will now let more broadcasters show 15-second ads within Facebook Live while receiving part of the revenue.

Facebook didn’t disclose exactly what the revenue split might be. However, it said pages and profiles with more than 2,000 followers and live audiences of more than 300 people will be able to take advantage of earning money from ads. Facebook ad breaks will only be available after four minutes, with additional ad breaks available after every five minutes.

The updates could help Facebook better compete with Google, whose creators have been making money from YouTube for years.

Publishers who upload videos to Facebook may soon be able to take advantage of ads within those videos as well. Facebook is now beginning to test ad breaks with a few U.S. partners, which the company said could be expanded in “coming months” after it’s had a chance to gather data from early findings.

@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.