What amounts to a video "view" on Facebook? For regular videos, Facebook will give it an official view if it's watched for three seconds. For video ads, a "view" is really an impressions for advertisers.
Facebook's video ads structure charges advertisers for each impression their ad receives. And since Facebook autoplays videos in the news feed, all someone has to do is scroll past an ad and the advertisers is charged.
As a marketer, it's easy to see why this isn't exactly an ideal situation. There's really no way to know if that "impression" really amounts to any viewing time – or simply a blip as someone hastily scrolls past.
That all changes today, as Facebook has made a bold play to grab the attention of potential video advertisers.
The Wall Street Journal reports that advertisers will now be able to choose another payment structure - one that allows them to pay only when their ads are viewed for at least 10 seconds.
Ten seconds is a lifetime when it comes to social media posts.
But Facebook, in confirming the report, says that the new 10-second option isn't the best option, in its opinion.
“We strongly believe in giving marketers flexibility over how they buy video ads, and we listened to feedback which is why we’re offering the new cost-per-view option. We don’t believe it’s the best option in terms of capturing the best value and brand objectives marketers care about, but we want to give them control and choice over how they buy,” said a Facebook spokesperson.
Of course, the 10-second ad option could end up costing advertisers more during the auction phase. And that's probably what Facebook's getting at here.
But when you think about it, advertisers could end up reaping five to nine second views on their video ads and not being charged. And if someone watches your video ad for 10 or more seconds, at least you know you might've made a real impression.
It's a big play against YouTube, but YouTube still offers more options. YouTube's TrueView option, for instance, let's marketers only pay if a viewer sticks around for 30 seconds. Plus, advertising on YouTube means you can place your ad inside videos that people are there to watch anyway. On Facebook, it's much easier to avoid video ads – for now. Facebook is investing in much more content that would better house video advertising.
Twitter has also recently defined their video ad structure. The company just introduced autoplay, and will only charge advertisers when a promoted video is completely in view (not cut off at the top of bottom by a user’s scrolling) and when it is played for at least three seconds.