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Facebook Showcase a Mindshare POV by Shyam Nathwani

Facebook Showcase

Facebook has revealed its new premium video ad program, Facebook Showcase. Showcase will give media buyers exclusive opportunities to advertise on Watch, Facebook’s video-on-demand service.

Showcase is currently only available for advertisers targeting US audiences but will allow ad buyers to access new tools such as In-Stream Reserve, In-Stream Reserve categories, and sponsorships. Using In-Stream Reserve, advertisers can pay a fixed cost (up to a year in advance!) for space in videos that are aimed towards in-target audiences verified by Nielsen, with the ability to run Nielsen Total Ad Ratings, Digital Ad Ratings and brand lift offerings from Facebook or Nielsen.

In-Stream Reserve categories allow advertisers to pick from the specific audience interests they want to target, such as sports, fashion/beauty, entertainment, food, and news. Sponsoring a video will give advertisers the ability to be the exclusive sponsor for content, and specifically pick individual shows they want their ads in.

Why it is interesting

  • Facebook are looking to grow their video ecosystem. 43% of people in the U.S. who watched In-Stream Reserve-eligible content over the past three months were between the ages of 18 and 34, compared with 28% of TV viewers during that same period, so this new placement opens the opportunity for advertisers to reach those who are slightly harder to access.
  • All the social platforms like Twitter, Snap, YT and Twitch essentially compete for (exclusive) content rights as this is how they can attract and retain big audiences. Its known that Twitter already have some streaming rights (US open, some Wimbledon) but if they had rights to other news or sports content such as the Premier League or the World Cup it would bring a massive audience of engaged viewers to the platform. Facebook have the money to compete in this space (against the likes of Amazon & Sky & BT) and are throwing their hat in the ring to become one of these players. They are only looking to renew around a third of the existing news programs that they’ve funded thus far for Facebook Watch, making significant investment into new, big-name programmes. (They’ve just announced a new animated comedy series for Watch called "Human Discoveries”, starring Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick!).
  • The ability to target across video categories/passion points – this is not a massively new capability for FB (at least in the US), but it’s similar to what’s available for Twitter’s instream product.  It’s interesting as this broadens their offering as the majority of the targeting we have/use on Facebook (outside of any deals with data partners) is interest based.
  • As the content is going to be more premium and controlled, this opens opportunities to different advertisers (particularly those who are slow to adopt products that may have lower viewability and/or brand safety measures), which is great, especially in light of the recent concerns around YT content. Erik Geisler, Facebook’s head of US agency sales, has said: “Brand safety is the product."
  • Unlocks opportunity for longer form ads. Typically, the ads bought across Facebook are short and snappy (which make sense for on-the-go mobile social usage but that many advertisers struggle to fit key campaign messaging in to) but this format opens up to those advertisers who have a bit more of a longer story to tell.

Bigger Picture, maybe the future.

  • Pretty much everyone has the Facebook app on their phone. Some even have it installed on their smartTV however its essentially just the FB newsfeed. Whilst Facebook Watch is still in its infancy, once it launches fully it could have a dedicated app for the smart TV and people would literally be watching content like regular TV/Netflix.
  • Ability to potentially instantly share comments and feedback on shows via FB, integrating long form/TV consumption. This could also work for recommendations. Without hugely over simplifying its algorithm, Netflix recommendations are primarily based on only a few data points such as content you have previously watched/rated. Facebook recommendations could be even more sophisticated and personalised as they have more data on you and could recommend based on your profile, what kind of content you engage in or how you behave on social.

Think of it like buying ads across a platform like Netflix, in a style you would for TV (reserving inventory upfront, at a fixed price & well in advance) but with Twitter-style instream targeting capability guaranteed against Nielsen demographics.

In summary, this could be a great new product for Facebook and could help to attract new advertisers to their platform, as well as increasing spend from existing partners.

Articles & Further Reading

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/02/27/facebook-targets-tv-media-buyers-with-upfront-programme

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/facebook-launches-premium-video-ad-program-bid-dominate-ott/1562969

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/26/facebook-showcase/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_cs=O0htBCWWA3oelBlV9t3cYw