Nikki Wicks
Jul 1, 2015

Facebook announces new video ad buying tool with focus on viewability

Facebook has announced a new way for marketers to buy Facebook video ads amid an increasing shift towards greater transparency and viewability with video advertising.

Facebook is testing cost-per-view bidding for video ads
Facebook is testing cost-per-view bidding for video ads

The social networking giant said it was testing cost-per-view bidding (CPV) after recognising that advertisers value different performance metrics and methods of buying. However, in a statement, Facebook added that it didn’t believe this was the best option available to marketers.

“Different advertisers value different performance metrics and methods of buying,” read a Facebook statement. “Cost-per-view buying is for advertisers who value video views as the best proxy for a business objective, and while we don’t believe this bidding option to be an optimal brand bidding strategy, we firmly believe in giving advertisers control over how they buy.”

Facebook goes on to advise marketers to continue using the current brand bidding options – including Reach and Frequency and Auction Optimised for Video Views – as the best methods of driving reach and brand impact.

“Under-bidding when buying on CPV can lead to under-delivery, which results in reduction of reach, CPM volatility, and ultimately lower lift in brand metrics. In short - it's not the best option for driving value and business objectives,” added the social network.

Until now, advertisers were charged on a cost-per-impression basis on Facebook, meaning brands would pay whenever a video showed up in someone’s feed and played for at least three seconds.

The debate around viewability has increased in recent months and many will regard Facebook’s move as a positive step, in responding to market feedback that the 3-second definition of a view isn't working for advertisers.

“This is a reflection of how the larger digital ecosystem is shifting towards greater transparency and viewability standards across all formats, including display and video,” said Ian Loon, head, digital leadership, SE Asia at Starcom MediaVest Group.

“It's a good move by Facebook as advertisers are increasingly questioning the validity of video views across digital channels. Especially within the busy mobile-first newsfeed super highway, where auto-plays and fast thumbs frequently activate quick video previews without genuine consumption of messages.”

Until now, advertisers were charged on a cost-per-impression basis on Facebook.

Phil Townend, MD, APAC at Unruly Media agreed that Facebook has made a step in the right direction, but highlighted that some competitors are already offering guaranteed completed 30-second views.

"If Facebook have done their research and 10 seconds is optimal user experience for their platform, then the next job is to work with advertisers and creatives to embrace and create bespoke 10 second, sound-off formats at scale,” he said.

Adding: “If on the other hand Facebook desire 30 second TV revenues, then they will be competing with companies like Unruly and YouTube who are offering guaranteed, completed 30 second views. In this light, clients and agencies may query whether guaranteeing 10 seconds of an expensively produced 30 second TV ad is enough to drive brand ROI."

The move is a clear counter offense to YouTube, added Loon, which offers both non-skippable (bought on CPM), and a TrueView format (also bought on cost per view), after the user views the entire or 30 seconds of a video ad.

“Marketers now have increasing options to purchase video with a higher viewability criteria at a presumed higher price,” Loon said.

“What marketers need to realise is that they will in fact recognise stronger ROI when assessing performance measures beyond cost per price-point, such as brand awareness or recall indices.”


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