Facebook and Instagram users are about to see a major change in their video experience.
Mid-roll advertisements will soon break up what is currently a fairly streamlined and pleasant experience as the social media giant looks to further compete with YouTube as the dominant online video platform.
As part of the change, video publishers will stand to make money on their Facebook videos in a 55/45 split—the same figure as YouTube pays its content creators.
With the new ad product, marketers can insert a commercial 20 seconds into a video that lasts for 90 seconds or longer. For content producers, this means a shift in how videos are produced for the platform. It’ll be a challenge to captivate audiences enough in those 20 seconds to make them want to stick around for more.
Facebook had started the mid-roll advertisements as a test, but it’s expected to have a wide roll out early this year.
A Facebook rep told Mashable, “We’ve found that this model is working well, and we plan to expand this test to make it available to more partners.”
The test feature might also extend to Instagram.
On Monday, Facebook sent a note to advertisers that they would start seeing the option to serve their ads into live and “formerly live” videos. “There are advertiser controls that you can use to exclude ad delivery within specific content,” the memo said.
The Instagram tests are basically an extension of Facebook’s ad experiments in live video, where it has been serving mid-roll ads into broadcasts. Facebook has been tinkering with these mid-roll video ads as a way to make money from streaming.
A 90-second video is longer than you think on Facebook, where most auto-play videos get the scroll treatment long before they hit the 20-second mark.
The question then becomes: Can content creators make videos that entice users to continue watching?