Last year, we wrote about the expense involved in producing good video content, and the pivot to video that threw sites like Mic and Mashable into financial disarray. They were producing that video content for Facebook at great expense.
With all the focus on video, advertisers began to look at video as a place to run their ads. But mobile video ads only work in certain circumstances, and they have to be really relevant and interactive. Consumers don’t visit sites for advertising, they visit for good content, or to fill a need.
That’s why interactive formats are a better solution for effective mobile advertising. Pre-roll and mid-roll, although they are often valued by advertisers, are actually less effective and more annoying to consumers. And brand ads work better than direct advertising in video.
It took a while for the industry to get their arms around how to deploy both video and video advertising. It’s evolving as a format that, like text and photography, has its pluses and minuses. It isn’t the ultimate route to engagement. Now we have seen Facebook, which for the past couple of years has been emphasizing video, decide that in 2018 it will allow less video in newsfeeds.
In a recent article for Wired Magazine, Facebook’s Adam Mosseri explains the changes.
There will be less video. Video is an important part of the ecosystem. It’s been consistently growing. But it’s more passive in nature. There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos.
This is primarily trying to help newsfeed deliver on its core promise of bringing people together, about connecting people with stories from their friends and family that matter to them. But also content that’s not from friends, right? You might have a really engaging conversation with someone who shares interests in a group, for instance.
But connecting people with each other is the value proposition on which our company was built in a lot of ways. So I do think that it’s consistent with what our values have been for a long time. But it’s really about creating more good—helping newsfeed become a place where there’s a vibrant, healthy amount of interaction and discussion. It’s less about reducing any sort of problematic content types, which is another area of work that we focus on intently.
What does the pivot away from video on Facebook’s part signify?
Nothing for the rest of us. Facebook has a special reason for existing, which is to connect people. Over the years, it has constantly experimented. Its users, however, are tiring of this kind of experimentation, and we believe that the last election turned off many American (substitute high economic value) consumers. Those consumers will go back to the publishers they respect and admire, although perhaps not on Facebook. They will engage with ads that are relevant and informative. Some of those ads will come from publishers, who will now have to pay (like everyone else) to reach Facebook users.