Facebook said today that it will begin selling video ads for “third-party apps and websites,” including on behalf of major publishers like the Daily Mail, Mashable, and USA Today. The social network has added a video advertising option to its so-called Facebook Audience Network — a mobile ad network that enables marketers to buy Facebook and Instagram ads outside the confines of the company’s own sites.
Facebook said that people watch 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day, and that total video watch time on Instagram has increased by 40% over the past six months. “Now,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new ad product, “in addition to watching these videos on Facebook and Instagram, people will view them on the other apps and sites where they spend their time.”
In coming weeks, marketers will be able to purchase both “in-stream” ads — or pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads — as well as “in-article” ads — or clips that autoplay on silent within the text of a story — that harness Facebook’s extensive data and targeting capabilities. In-stream ads will be between 10 and 30 seconds, according to The Wall Street Journal, while in-article clips can be up to 20 minutes long. In-article ads will also be available on Facebook Instant Articles.
One of the first marketers to make use of the service is fast-food company Jack In The Box, according to Facebook’s blog.
Facebook already sells display ads on behalf of its Audience Network, for which it takes a 30% cut, according Journal — which is the same fee it is likely to receive for video ads. Facebook says its two-year-old Audience Network accounts for almost 6% of all time spent by U.S. web surfers on mobile. The number of publishers to join the network has grown by 620% over the past year, according to the Journal, and the division currently has an annual run-rate of $1 billion.