Facebook is taking another step toward monetizing its vast audience of plugged-in consumers with the planned introduction of paid video ads. As reported in numerous media outlets, Facebook intends to launch 15-second video ads that will play in a user’s newsfeed three times per day for as much $2.5 million per spot.
That approaches the $4 million cost of a 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl earlier this year, although as other observers have pointed out Facebook’s global membership of 1.15 billion favorably compares with the billion viewers around the world regularly claimed (and sometimes disputed) for the Super Bowl.
So will Facebook video ads prove to be a boon or a bane for retailers and their customers? The answer may not be so clear cut.
As I wrote about in last week’s column, video is rapidly evolving into a separate channel for consumer engagement. Video is a natural fit in an ultra visual medium such as the Internet and has proven extremely popular with the public. Video ads offer retailers a natural way to bridge online and TV advertising campaigns. The price is expensive, but Facebook’s high user totals and engagement levels are undeniable.
Video ads will reportedly play silently until (and unless) users click on them and will not play more than three times a day. There is no compelling evidence that click-through rates on video ads will surpass generally anemic click-through rates on other types of online ads, although as always careful targeting can play an important role. Social media and the Internet are replacing TV to varying degrees for many consumers (especially advertiser-coveted Millennials), so the wisdom of blurring the line between Facebook and TV may be questionable.
And the verdict is…
No clear verdict here. Based on reported cost, obviously only larger retailers with deeper pockets will experiment with Facebook video ads, so to some extent if you can afford it, you can probably afford the risk. Moving beyo