Report: Facebook to start showing ads in the middle of videos

Facebook headquarters

If you thought ads on Facebook Inc.’s social network were already annoying, then prepare yourself. The company could soon start showing ads in the middle of some of its videos.

According to anonymous “industry sources”cited by Recode today, Facebook will begin testing a new “mid-roll” video advertising format for pre-recorded videos, which would allow brands to start playing an ad after a user has watched a video for at least 20 seconds. Facebook will apparently offer publishers 55 percent of the revenue earned by these ads, which is identical to the split offered by YouTube for its ads.

Until now, Facebook has not allowed any ads to play during pre-recorded videos uploaded to the social network, which has blocked off a significant source of potential income for publishers. However, the company did introduce pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads to the Facebook Audience Network back in May, and if the rumors reported by Recode are true, it would seem that this experiment has been a success.

“Video is exploding and we see that trend continuing,” Brett Vogel, Facebook Audience Network’s lead product marketing manager, told AdWeek at the time. “Both with publishers and with advertisers on the Audience Network. So the goal is to bring great ads into that format, helping advertisers, publishers and improving the experience for people.”

The new mid-roll ad experiment might be good news for publishers, but it seems unlikely that users will feel the same way, especially since the ads would not start playing until the user is already watching it.

Facebook will likely keep a close eye on viewer metrics for these new ads to see if users will actually sit through them, or if they instead give up on any video longer than 20 seconds.

Image courtesy of Facebook