video marketing
Jan 11, 2018 — TrackFive

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | New Report

As we run headfirst into 2018, there’s one aspect of marketing sure to keep everyone interested — mobile video marketing! In a recent company blog post published on Facebook’s business website, the social media giant discusses some findings that have gained lots of attention. Seeing how the introduction of mobile video changed the way people interact with social sites and ads, these new insights come as no surprise. Still, for marketers looking to make the most of their mobile video ads on Facebook and other sites, the info is invaluable. Let’s take a look!

As Facebook’s head of ads and business platform, Mark Rabkin writes, “there is no singular video ad experience on mobile. Instead, there is a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach.”

Although marketers are painfully aware of this fact, the more granularly we can learn about ad consumption, the better! Luckily, Facebook’s report provides charts and an analysis detailing how much time people typically spend watching ads, in addition to how these watch times fluctuate with an environment. Ultimately some pretty useful stuff, if you know how to make sense of it…

A Broad Analysis

To start, these charts make suggestions rather than reaching conclusions. Although there are no actual numbers involved, we’ll just have to interpret the generality of these behaviors. Also, these charts are primarily based on unaudited internal data from Facebook in August 2017. Other data was pulled from YouTube during that same month, in addition to a commissioned TV viewer report from March 2017. Just note that while these charts include logos from Snap and Hulu, one can’t regard these representations as evidence of their video ads’ performance one way or the other.

So, what do these charts tell us then? Unlike usual reports showing the percentage a video was viewed, we’re getting the actual number of seconds that each viewing session lasted. For anyone tracking session data whether, for video, audio, or general platform interactions, you’ll know that it’s sometimes very difficult data to get. That’s particularly true for Facebook!

Essentially, what we see here is the length of time people watched mobile video ads on Facebook before losing attention. That could mean either skipping or scrolling ahead, closing the app, or putting their phone down all together. The x-axis represents watch time, while the y-axis shows video sessions:

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | A Breakdown


As one of the primary ways users interact with video on Facebook or Twitter, feeds have an unprecedented scale and reach. Even though the majority of users consume this content quickly, there is the potential to direct them to longer videos. Of course, this particular chart is showing the need for quick, attention-grabbing content that communicates very directly!

Non-skippable Mid-roll or Pre-roll

These ads most closely resemble the TV ad experience and exist before or in the middle of a piece of content. Understandably, people already in the mood to watch a video with the sound on continue watching these ads. It’s somewhat obvious that annoyance grows strongly with ad length, however, this format is slowly dying out. The rise of ad-blockers can now make quick work of these types of adverts despite their effectiveness.

Skippable Mid-Roll or Pre-Roll

As a striking combo of the first two graphs, these ads behave almost like two ads in one. Essentially what we see here is a 5-second ad that most viewers encounter, followed by a 15-30 second ad that reaches 10% of viewers. Consider the interesting creative opportunities for linking these ads to the same company or type of product!


With lots of social platforms now offering this type of format, stories are one of the fastest-growing mobile video ads on Facebook. Although they are similar to feeds, stories feature full-screen, often sound-on snippets. Here all of the content is sequential, so the opportunity for narrative is much greater. Considering that these videos don’t require high production techniques, the potential for flashier adds is much higher. That said, the ability to skip ahead is almost inevitable as the graph shows…

Live TV

The immediate impression of this graph is that it resembles the non-skippable ads pretty closely. What we see here is that people actually have the tendency to “scroll away” in a sense when confronted with TV ads. Think about your own habits — when the commercials come, how great of an opportunity to check your phone is that? Apparently, most consumers agree! The takeaway may actually amount to retargeting smartphone users based on the television channels they watch for similar mobile video ads on Facebook…

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