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Facebook Adding Muscle to Compete for TV Ad Buyers

19 Mar, 2014 By: Doug McPherson

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Facebook appears primed to compete for TV ad buyers – expanding its video ad program, adding TV-like targeting tools, and testing video ads and working with brands to increase engagement levels.

Plus, it just added a reach and frequency capability that Facebook says can predict and deliver a campaign’s total audience reach – and the number of times ads are seen – with 99-percent accuracy. And Facebook is now giving brands the ability to choose specific time periods for their spots to run.

Advertisers buy Facebook’s 15-second video ads based on targeted gross rating points, and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings measures the delivery. Advertisers only pay based on what Nielsen OCR measures, according to Susan Buckner, a product marketing manager at Facebook.

MediaPost News says Facebook is relying on analytics firm Ace Metrix to help review and assess the engagement potential of individual ads before they appear to users.

Buckner says Ace Metrix will allow Facebook “to objectively measure the creative quality of the video in the Facebook environment and highlight performance indicators for advertisers, such as watchability, meaningfulness and emotional resonance.”

Facebook hasn’t said who its ad partners are, but it has been streaming ads for “Divergent,” the latest teen-targeted franchise from Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment. Ads from more brands are expected to appear this spring.

The video ads start playing automatically, but without sound, and then stop once people scroll past them. If mobile users tap the ads, they expand into a full-screen view and audio kicks in.

Videos on Facebook are apparently well received: while overall video consumption in the U.S. declined by 3 percent in January, Facebook saw its share of video viewing jump by 33 percent, according to comScore. It also reports that the time Facebook users spent with streaming media was up 67 percent per user and a whopping 79 percent overall.

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