Facing Ad Saturation, Facebook Is Now Forced to Get Creative

Facebook, which is currently ranked second in Internet advertising, is reaching saturation with its ads, prompting chief financial officer David Wehner to declare that the company’s revenue growth will “meaningfully” slow in 2017. That’s forcing Facebook to experiment with more creative ways to boost ad revenue than simply pushing quantity. To that end, the company is experimenting with targeting customized ads based on the Facebook profiles tied to the IP addresses streaming shows to peoples’ Roku or Apple TV boxes.

Bloomberg reports Facebook has been testing this for “the past few weeks,” with A&E Network and streaming startup Tubi TV, “selecting free test ads for nonprofits or its own products along with a handful of name brands.” During the tests, the video publishers “don’t get a cut” of the ad revenue “but will in the future.”


Questions remain, including “how best to track the ads’ effectiveness,” says Bloomberg, but “for now the company’s priority remains finding ways to help advertisers adapt their strategies for use on its primary site.”

Other social media companies are making similar efforts to increase revenue via ads in video content. Twitter has inked streaming partnerships with sports leagues “and other content providers.” Chief financial officer Anthony Noto stated in October that, “the ads played during Twitter’s NFL Thursday Night Football streaming exclusives had been especially successful, with many people watching them in their entirety with the sound turned on.”

But partners still “don’t yet have a default answer to questions such as who should be responsible for selling the ads or who should get which slice of revenue.”

In another partnership, Snap and NBCUniversal are teaming up on “exclusive, short-form versions” of hit shows such as “The Voice,” using data analysis to “prove its value” to advertisers. The company is also planning to produce its own video programs, advertising recently for someone to “oversee development and production for scripted and unscripted programming — from pitch to pilot.”

Heineken manager of global media for Dos Equis Ron Amram has the experience of struggling for traction with its Most Interesting Man campaign on social media. What he says he’s learned about the best way to capture attention with online ads is to make ads “more visually gripping” and eliminate dialogue, in case viewers have PCs or phones muted — and to keep the ads short.

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