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Facebook Gives Advertisers Option to Pay for Video Ads That People Can Actually See

Advertisers can now pay for video ads with 100 percent viewability.

Yeko Photo Studio/ Shutterstock

Facebook is (once again) changing the way it charges for video ads in the hope of satisfying advertisers.

Facebook’s new offering: Advertisers can choose to pay only for impressions generated when their entire ad is visible on the screen. In ad speak, it’s known as 100 percent viewability.

It seems like an obvious concept — only charge for ads people can actually see — but viewability has been a sticking point for advertisers for years, especially when it comes to Facebook. The social network usually charges advertisers if a video ad is at all visible, meaning they were paying even if the majority of their content was off the screen. As you can imagine, that wasn’t always popular with advertisers. But with the new option Facebook is now offering advertisers the ability to buy only ads that are completely visible onscreen.

The new buying option should help appease that crowd. Twitter, for example, did something similar back in June, referring to its 100 percent viewability offering as a “new standard” for the industry. (Unlike Facebook, Twitter won’t charge an advertiser until their video has played for three seconds; Facebook charges advertisers as soon as the video starts.)

But Facebook isn’t just adding a new ad measuring option. It’s also partnering with Moat, an independent ad measurement firm, so that advertisers can compare how many views Facebook charges them for with the number of views measured by an outside auditor. In other words, Facebook is trying to show it has nothing to hide and isn’t charging advertisers for more views than they’re really getting. It should be good business for Moat, which also partners with Twitter to measure its video views.

Again, the goal here for Facebook is to win over its critics, like GroupM Chief Digital Officer Rob Norman, who just last week publicly criticized the way Facebook measures video views. (He’s not alone — many people believe Facebook’s autoplay video strategy unfairly gooses viewing totals.)

The new update, though, seems to be helping. Facebook offered up a statement from Norman as part of the announcement on Thursday.

“We’re very encouraged that Facebook is partnering with Moat as a third-party verified solution, and that they’re offering advertisers the ability to pay only for impressions that have been viewed in their entirety,” Norman said. “Facebook’s scale moves the industry one step closer to the standards we’ve been seeking.”

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