Facebook’s Premium Video Advertising Option
When Facebook launched its Watch platform to compete with traditional television, the social media giant was hoping that the platform would become a legitimate rival for mainstream TV. While that has yet to happen, it hasn’t delayed Facebook’s plans for providing premium video opportunities for its bigger advertisers.
It has recently announced a new program which is intended to capitalize on the most popular content from the Watch platform and to deliver another method to advertisers for maximizing their reach with target audiences. Dubbed ‘Facebook Showcase’, this new program has the intention of helping some of the biggest advertisers boost their brand awareness when users view the most popular shows delivered via Watch.
Announcement by Facebook
According to Facebook, there was a need for this premium video advertising program because their video ecosystem is constantly growing, with a broad mix of creator content and original series. The social media giant points to such programs as ‘Red Table Talk’ and ‘Returning the Favor’, which are made available through Facebook Watch, as strong successes where premium video advertising could be very effective.
Facebook Showcase is thus made available to provide purchasers of television ads and online video with the opportunity to participate in the entire selling cycle by reaching audiences with very high-quality videos on Facebook. In essence, the program is intended to provide large-scale ad possibilities, connected with the most popular Watch programs.
While Watch has by no means become a household name, or as successful as Facebook had originally hoped, it does have strong appeal in certain segments of the general audience. Statistics show that Watch is currently consumed by about 400 million monthly viewers, watching at least 60 seconds of content, and of those 400 million, approximately 75 million invest at least 20 minutes of viewing time daily.
While 75 million viewers may not seem like much when compared to Facebook’s total active audience of 2.3 billion users, the numbers do stack up well against even the most popular shows on television, which might gather an audience of 15 million viewers per episode. Facebook can console itself with the fact that according to their Nielsen statistics, Watch audience numbers are already close to those of traditional TV, and there are still several anticipated tweaks ready to be implemented with Watch.
Upcoming Facebook Watch programs
According to industry insiders, Facebook plans to renew only about one-third of the current news programs which it has funded for Facebook Watch, in part because it now intends to invest in a number of newer high profile programs. One of the projects Facebook has in mind is a rebooted version of ‘The Real World’, with new seasons being developed in Thailand, Mexico, and the United States.
Viewers of this program will be allowed to vote on the cast members who will be associated with new Real World homes. They will also be able to voice their opinions on which of the past three seasons of the show should be made available on Watch, which introduces an interactive element to the programming.
Facebook is hoping that this increases engagement with Watch and that video viewing behaviors become more favorable toward the program. Facebook has also announced plans for developing an animated comedy series for Watch, which will star Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron, and which will be called ‘Human Discoveries’. It is hoping that this star power will deliver a big hit for the Watch platform, and increase viewership accordingly.
What Facebook Showcase will offer
It is very possible that Facebook Showcase will garner significant appeal, especially in light of the broader trends developing in the industry, and even more so, should any of the new planned programs take off and become popular. There are three basic types of video promotion that will be provided in Facebook Showcase, and these are the possibilities which large advertisers will have to consider.
The first of these is ‘in-stream reserve’, and it will allow advertisers to reach a target audience which is watching videos made available by high-quality creators and publishers. Ads must be purchased in advance at a pre-determined cost and will be delivered to audiences which are verified by Nielsen ratings. The second video possibility comes in the form of sponsorships, which will permit advertisers to become the exclusive sponsors of a particular program for viewers in the United States. In effect, this will give advertisers the chance to place ads of their choosing in specific shows of their choosing.
The third video possibility is called ‘in-stream reserve categories’, and it will include all the features of an in-stream reserve, while additionally allowing advertisers to reach target audiences with context-relevant content. Some examples of these categories would be fashion and beauty, entertainment, sports, news, and the broad world of food and food preparation. Facebook claims that these three video advertising options will provide a vehicle for advertisers to reach audiences which are becoming harder and harder to touch via traditional television.
Will Watch succeed?
It’s fairly obvious that Facebook’s new Showcase offering will definitely appeal to brands that enjoy seeking alternative approaches to advertising. However, to really reach the heights that Facebook originally anticipated, it will be necessary for Facebook Watch to score a major hit with at least one, or possibly two or three new programs that capture users’ imaginations, and bring a significant audience to the new platform.
While Facebook Watch has not yet accomplished anything near this lofty objective, it’s still very possible that it could become the next big video trend. Facebook is investing a huge number of resources into Showcase, and if they do happen to get it right, it’s very possible that more and more consumers may be migrating to Facebook and other platforms offering video-on-demand. TV advertising in this country is a $70 billion business according to the most recent figures, and that is the driving incentive for Facebook to continue to tweak its premium advertising platform to appeal to the biggest advertisers.