By:Nick Grudin, VP of Media Partnerships & Maria Angelidou-Smith, Product Management Director
We have previously shared that Facebook is prioritizing content that encourages meaningful interactions between people and videos that people seek out and return to regularly. Today we are sharing early best practices on how creators and publishers can align to these priorities while providing detail on some of the updates we are making to help content partners monetize this type of content.
Best practices for shows and videos
An engaged and loyal audience has both a meaningful connection to your content and to fellow viewers. This type of audience has a direct correlation with monetization – as their intent to engage with your video content grows, so too can your monetization opportunities. Some best practices for how to drive this kind of viewing behavior include:
- Build audiences on Facebook surfaces where people seek out content – Encourage audience engagement outside of News Feed on surfaces that support repeat, loyal viewership such as in Watch, on a Page or in a Group. These places allow for audiences to meaningfully interact with each other to build community around your content.
- Set and fulfill the creative expectations of viewers – A consistent voice and format drives repeat viewing and longer view times. Some successful formats that foster communities of fans around content include serialized shows or videos with a predictable cast and format. For example, Crypt Monsters by Crypt TV explores a new monster every week, Discovery Twins follows the adventures of Ava and Alexis McClure and Everything Explained delves into the science behind everyday occurrences. In each case, the audience knows what to expect with each new video and are more likely to return and view more episodes.
- Establish a release cadence – A set publishing schedule encourages audiences to consistently return to watch the next episode. Posting related videos, photos, or text posts helps to keep your fans engaged between episodes and seasons. For example, new episodes of Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix post every Friday and often have thousands of views within a few hours because many of her followers anticipate kicking off their weekends with her lifestyle tips.
- Create an active experience – Sourcing topics from audiences and engaging with commenters draws the audience closer to the content. For example, Riddle Me This, an interactive brain teaser show, sources potential brain teasers from its 60,000+ fan group. And taking a unique spin on the traditional ‘sports talk show’, ESPN First Take has hosts set a weekly topic and invite fans, via the official group, to submit their own video commentary on that topic with the fan from the top submission joining Friday’s episode to debate directly with an ESPN host.
Monetizing Video Content
We are focused on growing payouts for creators and publishers who develop engaged and loyal audiences and are working on growing payouts for partners who develop loyal, engaged viewing.
In our December 2017 announcement, we focused Ad Break eligibility on shows and longer videos. We continue to invest in new formats and tools designed to help maximize payouts for eligible videos that people value:
- Pre-Roll: Earlier this year we began testing pre-roll in Watch. We have seen promising signs, so we are expanding testing to places where people seek out videos, like in search results or on a Page timeline. For example, if a person searches for a show, a pre-roll may play when they select the episode to watch.
- Preview Trailers: We continue to explore ad formats that can better reach people intending to engage with content. We will test a show ‘preview’ trailer format that helps people discover episodes in News Feed. When a viewer taps on the trailer, we’ll play a short ad before moving them to view the full episode in Watch. Partners will also be able to boost this format, reaching new audiences and driving more predictable tune-in while still being able to monetize.
- Ad Breaks Auto Insertion: We recently introduced a feature that automatically detects the ideal place for an ad break within an eligible video. A well-placed ad break can have a big impact on publisher payouts.
- Pre-Publish Brand Safety Check: We have also introduced a feature enabling content partners to submit videos for monetization eligibility review before posting, ensuring the video will receive ad opportunities for all of its distribution.
Removing incentives from content that creates less value for people: As part of these efforts, we are clarifying policies and updating our Monetization Eligibility Standards and Content Guidelines for Monetization to make it clear the types of programming and distribution practices that will not be supported. Enforcement will be rolled out in phases so content partners can adapt. Eventually, however, repeat abuse could result in losing access to monetization features altogether:
- Manufactured sharing and distribution schemes: Content partners with paid arrangements for Pages to methodically and inorganically share videos can no longer monetize views originating on the third party Pages. This behavior optimizes for distribution rather than quality and does not build deep relationships between people and content. It aligns with our recent Branded Content policy update, prohibiting Pages and Profiles from accepting payment to share content they did not have a hand in creating.
- Formats unsuitable for an ad: When content partners use video formats that aren’t actually video – like static or minimal movement videos or content that just loops – they are creating experiences not intended for ad break monetization. People do not expect to see ads in this type of content, and this is not the type of content advertisers want to run ads in.
- Limited editorialization of content: Pages primarily distributing videos of repurposed clips from other sources with limited editorialization do not foster engaged, loyal communities in the way that Pages that produce and publish original, thematic or episodic videos do. While we will not be taking immediate enforcement action on this issue, we want to signal to content producers that this is a programming style we will more deeply evaluate over the coming weeks and months to assess what level of distribution and monetization matches the value created for people.
We know we have a long way to go, but we remain grateful to our partners who continue to create real value for their audiences by developing quality content and building engaged communities. We are focused on delivering new capabilities designed to better serve them.
For content partners seeking further detail on best practices, additional information provided here.