Facebook recently announced they will be completely removing 10-second view optimization from its platform at the end of July. On May 22nd, the company declared that the ThruPlay optimization will soon become the default for video view campaigns.
Here’s what you need to know about this change, and how it’ll affect your video strategy:
ThruPlay is an optimization on Facebook’s video view objective that allows advertisers to reach users who are more likely to play their videos to completion — or at least the first 15 seconds of it. It’s worth noting that this update is a change to campaign optimizations, not payments. Advertisers are still able to be charged by either impressions or ThruPlay. Choosing to be charged on impressions means that advertisers are prepared to pay per CPM regardless of video performance. Choosing to be charged by ThruPlay means advertisers are charged for every completed 15-second view.
Facebook found this optimization to be a strong addition to the value the platform provides to advertisers, as it’s in line with its goal of brand storytelling. As Facebook explained in their announcement, “Since its introduction last September, ThruPlay optimization has been working well for video advertisers. In fact, for each dollar spent in a campaign, ThruPlay optimization performs comparably to 10-second video views optimization in driving incremental ad recall and brand awareness. That’s why we’re making ThruPlay the default optimization for video views campaigns.”
So, what does this mean for our video campaigns? Most importantly, this means all current video campaigns need to be manually switched to the ThruPlay optimization before July 31, 2019 or Facebook will pause it. Aside from that, this is a big play for Facebook to offer advertisers a strategy that is comparable to YouTube TrueView. Similar to TrueView, advertisers are charged only on completed views or 15-second views, whichever comes first.
The biggest question for advertisers is what is going to happen to CPVs once this change comes into play. In their announcement, Facebook explained that for every dollar spent since the launch of ThruPlay it has performed comparably to 10-second views in ad recall and brand awareness.
Given the hesitation around the change — and how it’ll affect prices — the Ad Operations team at Pixability dug into how CPVs will behave on ThruPlays.
Across several of our advertisers’ campaigns, prices were comparable between ThruPlay and 10-second views, but we also found some advertisers saw increased prices. In addition to factors like targeting, demographics, and location all playing a role in determining CPV, we found placements and creatives had an impact as well. Specifically, we noticed a few cent influxes in ThruPlay when running fewer placements and longer creative. Campaigns running both the In-stream and Stories placement with 30-second creative assets saw the CPV for 10-second views and ThruPlay stay consistent at $0.02. On the other hand, some advertisers saw CPVs increase from $0.07 10-second views to $0.11 ThruPlays only running on the News Feed. Adding a bid cap in some cases did help in driving down the cost, as well as adding shorter creative and expanding the placements.
That said, as intended, video completion rates showed an uptick with ThruPlays. So performance does in fact follow suit, but the inconsistency of CPVs will make for a difficult adjustment.
It’s worth clarifying that selecting to be charged on impressions has no impact on ad performance. If your ads are delivering high CPVs, you’re still only paying for impressions. This could lead to beating a high price per completed view, but also could lead to high CPMs if your ads perform well. By selecting ThruPlay, if your ad doesn’t perform well, all non-completed views still result in free impressions.
If you’re not spending time optimizing your campaign, and have a greater risk of poor performance, ThruPlay could be the better option for you — as you’re simply getting what you pay for. Paying on a CPM basis can reap benefits for advertisers, but only if they’re actively optimizing and hands-on with campaigns.
The remaining options for video view optimizations will be ThruPlay and a 2-second continuous view. Thruplay is not supported by Messenger or Reach and Frequency campaigns, but is available on all placements in Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network. You will still be able to see reporting for 10-second views, similar to 3-second views.
The following placements are available for ThruPlay:
- Facebook: feeds, in-stream video, Instant Articles, Suggested Video, stories, Marketplace
Instagram: feed, stories
- Audience Network: in-stream, native, banner and interstitial, rewarded video
The following ad formats are available for ThruPlay:
- Single Video
- Instant Experience (Not supported by ThruPlay billing option)