How Facebook’s New TV Style Ads Might Impact Your Brand

When it comes to advertising, television is king and social media is just another piece on the chess board. And while Facebook marketing budgets have continued to climb in recent years, it still represents a relatively modest amount when compared to television. However, Facebook plans to change that by bringing television-style ads to your news feed.

Facebook Social Television Advertising - Cropped

How It Works

That’s the rumor at least. For somewhere between one and 2.5 million dollars, Facebook will secure a 15-second spot within the News Feed. These new ads depart from the normal hyper-targeted model only allowing marketers to target age and gender.

Ads will have to generate very impressive reach in order to justify the steep price tag. That might be tough considering users will see an ad no more than 3x per day. So at the end of the day, what does this mean for marketers? It’s too early to tell but I do have some predictions.

More Competition in the News Feed

Facebook is sensitive to its user experience, but it’s also publicly traded and shareholders like profits, not user experience.This new ad unit represents one more promoted product competing with your content in the News Feed. Here in our office, we preach “Earn It, Don’t Buy it,” meaning we believe that organic content drives deeper and more beneficial engagement for brands. With a seemingly endless string of new ad unit options for marketers the value and impact of organic content may continue to be diminished because of lost real estate. Are we heading toward a pay-to-play model for large brands on Facebook? I certainly hope not.

Decreased Value of Organic Video

Brands already spend tons of money developing webisodes and all kinds of other short videos for use on Facebook and other channels. These specifically tailored 15-second spots are rumored to be of equivalent quality to a television commercial. This essentially forces you to pay to promote video content or get lost in the noise of the News Feed. With the already intense competition for News Feed space organic video content could be a thing of the past.

Fan Fatigue

Although Facebook is very conscious of the look of its ads, how they appear and how often users see them, ads are not generally what users hope to find in their News Feed when they log in. This will almost undoubtedly result in fan fatigue for brands that choose to use these ad units. Imagine how overwhelmed you might feel: A user could potentially see up to three status updates, possibly a promoted page post, an ad on the left hand rail, and now a video ad, all from the same brand. Let us not forget the fate of the pop up ad. Choose placements and cadence carefully. Always think of organic content first.

Escalation in the Ad Spend War


From no ads, to some ads, to more ads, to ad overload. Facebook has seen a steady arms race between brands trying to grab the attention of users. These television style ads represent another weapon in a brand’s arsenal. With each new ad unit type I am left wondering if we’re headed towards a mutually assured destruction scenario. You launch ads to combat my ads and we’re all left spending money only to be ignored by our target audiences.

So what’s the next step? We don’t know, yet. As details roll out we’ll learn more about the new rules for these ads, but until then we’re kind of in limbo. My suggestion is to ramp up your organic content strategy to build your PTAT as high as possible before these videos hit. Then maybe you can make a stand against the ad onslaught.

How do you think that television style ads will change the Facebook landscape?

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