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Facebook is testing new ways to match ads to your video preferences

By Ken Wong - on 23 Apr 2021, 10:05am

Facebook is testing new ways to match ads to your video preferences

Will you watch ads on Facebook? Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Thanks to the pandemic our viewing preferences have changed, and this has led to an increase in the volume of streamed content we consume. And like it or not, tech companies have noticed this captive audience at their beck and call and decided to do something about it.

According to Facebook, with more than two billion people watching in-stream eligible videos every month on the platform, the company is working on ways to let businesses and digital creators monetise the videos they develop and share.

Eligible videos refer to those that can be used for in-stream ads as not all shown on Facebook meet the necessary requirements.

With users spending more than four times as much time watching online videos as before the pandemic, video experiences on Facebook and Instagram exist in short-form and long-form formats across its family of apps, each offering distinct viewer and ad experiences.

So, if you gave up on watching mainstream content from your local TV provider because you felt there were too many ads, well, I’m sorry, it looks like your online content will soon be interrupted by personalised ad content.  


The arrival of In-stream ads

Facebook said that the company is starting a global test of In-Stream Video Topics, which will allow advertisers to target their ads not just by audience, but also based on the topic of a given video.

In a briefing to the media on their ad plans, Facebook showed how this would work in a blog post and said that there will be “over 20 Video Topics, like Sports, and over 700 hundred sub-topics such as Baseball, Basketball, Golf, or Swimming.”

Sumit Sharma, Product Marketing Lead, Apps and Services at Facebook Asia Pacific, said:

Our goal has always been for users to receive relevant content and such suggestions only get stronger through their search and viewing history. Video ads are categorised with multiple levels of granularity through the utilisation of machine learning, while topics are vetted based on our brand safety guidelines. This unlocks higher levels of accuracy and broader scale, giving advertisers more opportunity to align their brand in contextually relevant content, and users to receive content that would be of interest to them.

Additionally, Instagram will begin testing Reels ads in India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia. These ads can be up to 30 seconds long, and users can interact with them in the same ways they interact with organic Reels content and like, share, or skip.

How Reels will be used for advertiing. Image courtesy of Facebook.

Most interestingly will be the Sticker Ads which will allow brands to create custom stickers, and users/content creators can then include them in their Facebook Stories. Sharma said that these Sticker ads will enable content creators to monetise their Facebook Stories with ads that look like stickers and receive a portion of the resulting revenue.

How sticker ads will work. Image courtesy of Facebook.

Facebook said that the ads will be skippable with Sharma adding that they come with the same user controls as other ads in the Facebook ecosystem, “To report or hide an ad, users can tap the "..." on the top right of the ad post, click Hide Ad or Report Ad, follow the on-screen instructions and select the appropriate reason.”

Only time will tell if users will be willing to sit through ads in their feeds and shared content. But with companies looking for more ways to reach out to consumers, this move by Facebook won’t be the last we’ll be seeing.

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