Facebook has made it a point to run ads in the middle of videos, but it has historically been hesitant to put ads in front of the videos and annoy people that are just trying to watch a video that surfaced in their News Feed. However, the social media giant might be willing to break with tradition in some way. Facebook plans to test pre-roll ads on the Watch tab and other spaces where users “intentionally go to watch videos.” Users would not see pre-video ads while they are scrolling through the updates of their friends, in other words, but users might when they sit down for a viewing. The trial will begin in 2018 with 6-second clips, with Facebook examining the results to see what works best for different shows and audiences.
There will be some modifications to how videos are prioritised in the News Feed of users. Facebook is improving its ranking system to increase the distribution of videos that the users are looking for (such as through a company page or search) and those videos that users keep coming back to watch on a regular basis.
In both cases, the aims of Facebook are clear: it wants to encourage producers to keep making videos and to make more money from videos. If users know their kitten compilations will both reach a wider audience and rake in more ad revenue, they’re probably going to keep posting those kinds of clips. The ads could absolutely be nuisances. However, Facebook is betting that users would not mind if those and the News Feed tweaks will lead to more of the videos that users would like to see.