Stay tuned, but for now Facebook is running a limited test allowing Fox Sports and the NFL to sell ads against native video.
Facebook video is surging, going from zero to 3 billion daily views practically in the blink of Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. So far, though, Facebook is being coy about how it plans to monetize those views.
As is usual for new Facebook advertising efforts, the company isn’t rushing to introduce new commercial messages to its 1.39 billion users. Facebook is encouraging publishers to post native video to make consumers aware of their content, but has said next to nothing publicly about how money might be made.
There have been hints, though. In December, Facebook launched an experimental ad unit on clips from the NFL sponsored by Verizon. Those clips included a clickable Verizon banner on the video and a short Verizon “post-roll” ad that played after the video. And this week TheVideoInk reported that Fox Sports is now testing the same ad product.
Fox Sports signed a deal with Nationwide to sponsor a series of NASCAR videos on its online video channel @TheBuzzer. Here’s one of the videos it posted from the Daytona 500 last month:
Facebook declined to comment other than to confirm that it’s a test that so far has been limited to the NFL and Fox Sports.
Fox Sports has been pleased by the results so far. “These are experimental ad formats, but we’re seeing that they’re delivering value to our sponsors,” Fox Sports EVP of digital Pete Vlastelica told TheVideoLink. “Our scale on Facebook is so tremendous that attaching a brand’s message is going to be valuable.”
Facebook’s fledgling effort can been seen a direct competitor to Twitter’s Amplify video product. Since 2013, Twitter has offered publishers the ability to pay to push video clips into people’s feeds and the NFL was one of Twitter’s first major Amplify customers.
“When you look at creating timely videos, sports content can do really well,” Noah Mallin, head of social at media agency MEC, told Digiday. “You can also look at it as a shot over Twitter’s bow,” he added.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)