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Get ready for more ads on Facebook.
Facebook Watch, the company’s initiative for original shows, will reportedly test pre-roll video ads — a.k.a. commercials — before the actual video starts, AdAge reported Friday.
This potential change opposes Facebook’s previous strategy and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s own words.
“We don’t need to do pre-roll because our model is not one where you come to Facebook to watch one piece of content, you come to look at a feed,” Zuckerberg said in July during the company’s quarterly earnings report, AdAge noted.
But experimenting with pre-roll isn’t surprising. Since the introduction of Watch, Facebook has been trying to become more of a hub for long-form video rather than just an endless feed of content to quickly scroll through.
Facebook wants its creators and viewers treating Watch as a destination like Netflix. Facebook is reportedly evaluating the success of Watch shows based on time spent and loyalty rather than just overall unique viewers.
“They’re focused on repeat visits, and not just looking for a single video that goes viral and winds up in everyone’s feed,” an anonymous Facebook Watch partner told AdAge.
Instead of pre-roll ads, Facebook Watch videos have been running with mid-roll ads similar to commercials on television or on Hulu. But pre-roll is common on YouTube, one of Facebook’s rivals in high-quality video.
The change, of course, comes less than four months into Facebook Watch rolling out to users. AdAge cited anonymous sources in the advertising industry familiar with Facebook’s strategy.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.