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​Facebook tries out ads that act like TV commercials

Facebook announced Thursday they have begun testing mid-roll video ads, akin to TV commercials, in a series of formats, that all have major implications for how the tech giant plans to expand into a TV-like business.

  • Facebook has begun testing ad breaks for videos longer than 90-seconds on their platform. The ads will also be available for video content on Facebook's Audience Network, which is an extension of eyeballs across other websites and apps.
  • Facebook also announced they are expanding ad breaks to more publishers on Facebook Live. Publishers can now take 20-second ad breaks with the click of a button after 4 minutes of being live. They can take additional ad breaks every five minutes.
  • Lastly, Facebook is testing ad breaks in their on-demand video tab that is aimed to house premium content.

Why it matters:

  • Facebook's looking more like TV: Testing mid-roll ads on its on-demand platform brings Facebook one-step closer to creating an in-app television-like experience, in which they hope to steal TV ad dollars. Facebook accounted a TV-like cable box top app earlier this month, which will likely be monetized the same way.
  • Publishers will finally get paid: For the first time, publishers will be able to take a cut from video ads. Facebook said last year that its users watch 100 million hours of video per day, with a large portion coming from publishers who previously couldn't monetize their content. Facebook announced earlier this year that it would cease paying publishers to create Facebook Live video, which has many publishers saying they may abandon the platform altogether, unless a new monetization plan was introduced.
  • Quality control for Facebook: This is part of Facebook's push to control the quality of their content. Mid-roll ads will also encourage publishers to create longer video (more than 90 seconds) and better videos. The ads will only be played after a viewer views a video for at least 20 seconds.