Autoplay Video and Viewability: When to Pay

Facebook is testing an option for advertisers to pay for video ads if they’ve been played for ten seconds.

Under the test that’s rolling out to Facebook’s own and third-party firms’ Facebook-equipped ad-buying tools on Tuesday, advertisers can still pay once their video ads come into view — meaning on a cost per thousand impressions basis — or they can choose to only pay once their ads have played for at least 10 seconds, or on a cost-per-view basis, as Facebook is referring to it.

Twitter’s latest test is charging for video that’s  100% in view for three seconds. In Twitter’s test, users who want to avoid surprise data charges and opt to have autoplay turned off if they’re not on wifi. Low bandwidth users can also turn off autoplay, which raises the question of whether users will opt to turn off autoplay in large numbers.What does this mean for how ads will be charged in the future?

No one knows how the pricing will end up, and it is difficult to compare prices. It took us a decade to figure out how to charge for display ads. We’ve moved somewhat off CPC to CPM due mostly to RTB. We’ve just added viewability and fraud detection to the “traditional” pricing matrix.

Video is relatively new, mobile video is newer, native video is a wild card. It will take a while to come to an agreement as to how video ads should be paid for that makes sense for brandsOne complicating feature is autoplay video vs click to play.  Both Facebook and Twitter, as well as many other publications, use autoplay with or without audio as a matter of course. If a video ad is not autoplayed, however, when will advertisers be charged?

Our advice is to buy video direct on a private exchange like the ZINC. On the web, your should be charged only if the user sees the full 30 second video. On mobile we charge if the user sees 15 seconds or more of the video ad. Brands love it.