Facebook’s latest plans for video ads could be an interesting one. According to widespread reports (most of them citing Recode), the network is set to start testing ads that run part of the way through videos.

Until now, Facebook has resisted the urge to place ads in its videos but the test marks a (potentially) drastic move from the network. It follows a few years of aggressively pushing video content on users, to the point we’re now watching 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day.

Sounds like Facebook is ready to cash in on its newly-found video prowess.


‘Mid-roll’ ads coming to Facebook videos

As we say, this is something Facebook is only testing for the time being. The new “mid-roll” ad format will insert ads into videos after people watch them for at least 20 seconds. Apparently, the plan is to give video publishers 55% of the revenue generated from the ads, which is in line with YouTube’s offering to publishers.

So it’s no secret where the motivation behind Facebook’s decision to test video ads comes from. The huge rise of video content on the network puts it up there as a direct competitor with Google’s YouTube – assuming it can monetise the system.

The big question, of course, is how users will take to the notion of being interrupted by ads half-way through watching a video.


Could the move have a negative impact on video views?

This will undoubtedly be the big question in Facebook’s tests – to ensure users don’t give videos the cold shoulder because of “mid-roll” ads. Of course, there will be some unhappy campers no matter how Facebook implements them but people tend to calm down pretty quickly and forget about a life before ads.

After all, when was the last time you heard someone complain about YouTube ads?

One key different is that Facebook can’t exactly put ads at the beginning of videos, due to the nature of scrolling through news feeds and autoplaying video. In fact, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has supposedly forbidden the notion of “pre-roll” video ads and we have to say it’s the only logical stance to take.

The “mid-roll” format reduces that initial friction and gives publishers the chance to get people engrossed in their content. The crucial thing for video marketers and “mid-roll” ads will be giving viewers to watch an ad in full and then return to watching their initial video. This will be the key challenge for publishers if Facebook goes ahead with the new ad format after testing.

What do you think about the concept of “mid-roll” ads in Facebook videos – the logical step for Facebook or an unnecessary barrier between users and watching video content in full?