The ad format that could soon become a big part of the monetization model on Facebook is beginning to show up. The social media platform is testing its “mid-roll” ad formats, which include ad breaks in both on-demand videos and live streams.
Facebook has reportedly be working on its mid-roll ads for a few months, though no official details about them had emerged until now. The prevailing understanding was that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a fan of mid-rolls, believing them to be less disruptive than the pre-roll ads utilized across the online video industry, most notably by YouTube. Mid-rolls have the added benefit of promoting long-form video, which Facebook is looking to do as it builds a library of TV-quality original programming.
The latest development comes from Facebook itself, which, after previously staying quiet on the subject of mid-rolls, offered a statement reported by Variety and others. “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,” said Facebook VP of partnerships Nick Grudin.
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The mid-rolls are expected to run for up to 15 seconds each. Publishers will be able to add the ads into new videos while also retroactively applying them to existing on-demand content.
For live streams, ad breaks will become available after the four-minute mark of any particular broadcast, with additional breaks allowed in five-minute intervals beyond that. To employ these ads, users must have at least 2000 followers and must have received 300 concurrent viewers on a recent stream.
A specific launch date for mid-roll ad breaks hasn’t been revealed, though Facebook said it plans to use the next few months “to analyze, learn and iterate on the early version of this feature.”