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Facebook video ads

The online battle for TV ad dollars continues to heat up. It is talked about time and time again. How is Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) going to monetize the fact that it is one of the most visited sites in the world? While the social networking giant has done a decent job at this in the past, it is something investors are going to be paying closer attention to in the near future. Nobody knows for sure what Facebook is going to do next. While the company is sure to have some ideas up its sleeve, it has to tread lightly with each and every decision that it makes.

Facebook video adsAs our technology-driven society shifts away from traditional cable TV toward the myriad options made possible by the Internet, the nature of advertising is being forced to adapt. Set-top boxes, tablets, and smartphones are increasingly taking over as access points for content consumption. Seeking to break traditional television's dominance over advertising budgets, Facebook is poised to bring TV-like commercials to the world's most popular social network.

If Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) does anything to alienate its audience it could mean a big fall for them. With all in mind, many believe Facebook video ads are to be the next big thing for the company. Nobody knows if it's going to happen, but it's safe to say i's something Facebook is exploring. The ads are meant to be no different than your friend's status updates - all just social content. No separation between edit and ad sides, as they say in the magazine-publishing business - no suspicion that there is any conflict of interest or pretense of neutrality or objectivity.



It appears that they will be bringing the Facebook video ads to users' newsfeeds in July, according to The Financial Times. The video ads will appear in newsfeeds on desktop computers as well tablets and smartphones and will be set to autoplay on mute. If a user clicks on a video ad, it will restart with sound. Facebook is reportedly seeking CPMs in the "low $20s", a bit lower than the average $29 CPM of broadcast television according to MagnaGlobal. Among the concerns from analysts and others are how users will react to having yet another form of advertising in their newsfeeds, as well as how the load time of video will affect user experience on mobile devices.
Performance on mobile is of particular concern for Facebook as it works to allay investor worries that it has not moved quickly enough to monetize mobile traffic. The company showed a 54% increase year-over-year in mobile users in its Q1 2013 earnings, and mobile advertising accounted for roughly 30% of advertising revenue during the quarter. Yet, the company's stock price has been hovering under $30 since February.

According to people familiar with the plans, the new online Facebook video ads could yield up to $1.5 million in new revenue per day based on initial inventory levels. Big brands including Ford, Coca Cola and American Express are expected to participate in the early trials. It is unclear if Facebook is also approaching TV broadcasters and film studios to advertise their shows and films with the new ads, but based on recent studies, it would seem the social TV angle would be a sensible pitch.

News Feed ads would appear up to three times a day on a targeted user's page. The 15-second videos will play automatically when a user scrolls over them. Audio won't be activated unless a user clicks on the ad. Unless they are using a TV-recording service like TiVo, most traditional tube-watchers sit through commercial breaks. The Internet makes it easier to skip or ignore ads than television does, which could create some potential headaches for Facebook – even Google is changing its YouTube advertising system accordingly.

"Everyone else who is in the business of selling TV-like ads is having trouble matching the stuff they want to sell to things people want to look at on the Web. Or getting people to actually watch the video ads when they do find them ... Google's YouTube and other sites are now moving to a new 'cost per view' pricing scheme where advertisers only pay for video ads if users actually watch them," said AllThingsD.

While Facebook is sure to generate a lot of profits from advertising, the company could be walking a tightrope as far as user satisfaction. According to DailyFinance, a report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Facebook dead last among other online media sites in regard to user satisfaction. The report stated that 27 percent of users surveyed complained that ads are ruining their overall Facebook experience.

"Facebook had better dial back the ad blitz if it wants those disgruntled users to stick around," said DailyFinance. "It's a high-wire balancing act between monetization and user satisfaction. Lean too far in one direction, and you won't make any money from those billions of page views. Err too far in the other direction, and those profitable page views will melt away as unhappy users find greener pastures."

But with Facebook's incredible dominance of global social networking and the sheer influence of the site on many users' daily lives, it begs the question - where could unhappy users even migrate to, without losing so many digital connections, photos, and the ability to instantly keep in touch with just about everyone they know?


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