If you’ve created an ad recently on Facebook, you’re sure to have noticed that there are a ton of different ad placement options ranging from Facebook newsfeed to the audience network. One of the more controversial choices is Facebook’s mid-roll video ad placement.
Mid-roll ads were not popular with users when the feature first rolled out, and that’s not surprising. These interrupted the videos they were already watching, and nobody likes interruptions. While they’re still not the world’s most popular ad placement option for users, there are a number of incredible benefits to using this ad placement that marketers and businesses shouldn’t ignore.
In this post, we’re going to look at mid-roll video ads– their pros, the cons, how to use them most effectively, and whether you should even use them at all. We’re also going to touch on what may be coming next: pre-roll ads.
What Are Mid-Roll Video Placements on Facebook Ads?
Mid-roll video ads are run during qualifying videos either on Facebook or in audience network videos. They can be shown during native videos, including live videos that are being broadcast in real-time if the publisher decided to take an ad break. They will play part of the way through a video, relying on the hope that interested users will keep watching the ad in order to get to the rest of the video on the other side.
If you’re a marketer, you don’t have to worry about your video ad showing upon just any content and not getting impressions. Only select publishers and pages with large audiences are able to place ad breaks in their content. It’s also important to note that mid-roll video ads are delivered based on audience, just as newsfeed video ads are; users watching the same ad break in the same video might be shown a different ad.
What Are The Benefits to Mid-Roll Video Ad Placements?
The premise of mid-roll video ads on Facebook is phenomenal. Theoretically, by placing a quick video ad break within longer, native video content, there’s an increased chance users will watch your video ad all the way through. Users are already engaged and invested in what they’re watching, and their video’s sound is likely on. If they’ve watched far enough into the organic video to get to the ad, they’ll likely watch the brief ad to get to see the rest of the organic content they were watching in the first place.
As it turns out, this theory is pretty solid. While some users will abandon ship at the first sign of an ad, mid-roll ad placements have higher video completion rates than newsfeed video ads. Specifically, the video completion rate for mid-roll ads is an outstanding 70%, and marketing expert Paul Ramona actually achieved a 100% video view completion rate using mid-roll ads and a dedicated strategy.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
There’s no getting around it; mid-roll ads are not popular with users. Some users find them downright annoying, swearing up and down that they’d never purchase a product from an advertiser who interrupted their video. While this may be true for a small segment of users, the video completion rates of mid-roll ads can’t be denied. That being said, this is still something to consider.
There’s also the small risk that your ad could be shown in the middle of content that you don’t approve of and don’t want to be associated with. Fortunately, the small number of publishers limit the likelihood of this occurring, and Facebook now gives you the option to block certain categories of content or certain publishers.
Overall, the drawbacks of using mid-roll ads for marketers are small. There’s more drawbacks for content publisher’s, who may see lower video completion rates if users bail during the ad, but that doesn’t have to impact what ads you choose to run as an advertiser.
What About Pre-Roll Placements?
For a long time, Facebook was firmly against offering pre-roll video ad placements. Mark Zuckerberg himself said that this wasn’t an ad format they were interested in because it wasn’t suited to the platform. He had a point; users didn’t come to Facebook specifically to watch video content like they did with YouTube. Instead, they came to scroll through a feed. As a result, brands use video to reel users in, and putting a video ad in front of that wouldn’t do any favors to the ad or the content it was placed on.
Now, though, that’s changing– sort of. Facebook is currently testing out pre-roll ads, but only on Facebook’s Watch platform, which is long-form content that users come specifically to watch. In terms of practicality, these will be more like the ads that play before your Hulu or YouTube videos. These ads would only be six seconds in length, and for the Watch content, they’d likely have slightly higher completion rates than in the feed because users are invested in what they’ll be watching. Aside from the short snippet of time, this would be a placement that could garner strong results.
How to Create & Influence Facebook’s Mid-Roll Video Placements
When running a video views campaign, click on “Edit Placements.” Mid-roll videos will fall under the “in-stream” videos category, and will automatically be enabled. If you want to disable other placements, you can. You can run mid-roll videos on both Facebook and the audience network (or just either one, if you prefer).
As long as you’ve selected the in-stream ad placement, you can choose to block certain publishers or categories of videos. If you do this, your ad won’t be shown on any video that fits into the themes of Pages that you’ve blocked. Categories that you can block include social issues, mature content, tragedy & conflict, dating, and gambling.
Mid-roll videos should have an aspect ratio of 16:9 for best performance, as this is what will match the video inventory.
These ads are also limited to a maximum of fifteen seconds, so you want to get your point across quickly. Fortunately, Shakr can help you there. We have currently have 201 video design templates that meet the requirements for the 16:9 dimension and a maximum length of 15 seconds. Each of these video templates are customizable with your own videos and images, and they’re heavily stylized all the way down to the soundtracks that come included.
Split testing is always key to long-term success, so create several different videos using Shakr’s video templates to see what mid-roll video content your audience is most responsive to.
There are pros and cons to weigh when deciding if you want to utilize mid-roll video ad placements on Facebook. For most businesses, however, they’re worth testing at the very least. This gets you in front of an audience that’s invested in what they’re watching. Now that you can prevent your ad from displaying in certain content, you have just a little more control.
Ready to start creating your own brief videos for mid-roll ads? Start your free trial with Shakr today (no credit card required!).