Social Media

What Marketers Need to Know About the Social Video Ad Trend

January 11, 2017

Today, Facebook announced In Stream Video Ads and Instagram Story Ads, two major ad product developments that build on the expected surge in advertiser spending on Social Video Ads. This has been a significant area of focus for all the social platforms. In the past few months, we’ve seen interesting uses for SnapAds, new Twitter offerings, and additional ability for Facebook to scale. These updates not only nod to the desire of platforms to receive their share of the social video spend, but also suggest their larger online video aspirations. The new products from Facebook further confirm this platform-wide trend.

Facebook In Stream Video Ads

Advertisers now have access to In-Stream advertisements that serve ads within Live or previously live content (more information here). For publishers, this is an opportunity to monetize highly consumed video content. For Facebook, this increases the amount of ad inventory they have within newsfeed, a problem they addressed last year. For advertisers, this update will lay the foundation for stronger video performance on social due to the more traditional placement of the ads before or during content.

Instagram Story Ads

Ads are being introduced in this area of Instagram to take advantage of the 150 million users who consume Story content every day. These ads will look very similar to those on Snapchat, they will appear between user content and will be focused on generating reach. Compared to SnapAds though, these ads will benefit from Facebook’s targeting capabilities and troves of user data. Initial rollout will be limited to a handful of brands at launch, with a global rollout coming in the next few weeks.


While this is an obvious evolution of both products, it’s yet another signal from a social platform that they don’t want to be seen as just “social.” In the past year, Snapchat rebranded as a tech company and Twitter as a live media company. With the announcement of In Stream Video and Instagram Story Ads, Facebook doesn’t necessarily change its position in the marketplace, rather it puts itself in a strong position to compete in today’s marketplace, with an eye on whatever comes tomorrow. More specifically, with the announcement of in-feed video, Facebook has created a foot hold that puts it in direct competition with YouTube and Twitter Live/Amplify, while setting it up to vie for other Online Video (OLV) dollars down the road. Ads within Instagram Stories aren’t just an answer to SnapAds but also a way to proactively position themselves with the more emerging messaging and broadcasting apps like and Snow.

Given these concurrent updates, there are a few things advertisers should keep in mind:

  • In the short term:
    • Facebook In Stream Video Ads: Integrate these placements in your current and future video buys to test effectiveness against more traditional Facebook placements.
    • Instagram Story Ads: Keep an eye out for ad experiences within Stories, while the initial focus of these ads are reach – Facebook has promised additional objectives and functionality within the units.
  • In the long term:
    • Re-evaulate the role(s) of each social platform: With every new product introduced by the major social platforms, the lines between social and digital become more and more blurred. As this becomes the case, advertisers should consider adopting an integrated strategy that considers all the things social can accomplish (video, live, long form content, etc).
    • Holistic Measurement: Additionally, with this blurring of lines, advertisers should look to additional opportunities to measure social holistically such as Media Mix Modeling, Econometric modeling, or brand studies