Facebook plans TV-style ads to go with TV-sized audience

Facebook is reportedly planning to sell TV-style ads in its News Feed for up to a whopping $2.5 million a pop. And why not? A new report finds among young people, Facebook’s prime-time audience is bigger than that of network TV.

A new Nielsen report says Facebook reaches 50 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds during the prime-time hours of 8-11 p.m., according to Bloomberg News, significantly more than the 37 percent to 43 percent of any of the networks.

“This data really changes the way marketers view us now,” Fred Leach, head of Facebook’s measurement research, told Bloomberg. “They used to think of us as a niche part of their ad strategy, but this data establishes us as a really important piece of giving them reach.”

Bloomberg reports Facebook will seek to start selling 15-second video commercials (shorter than most TV ads, but the same length as Instagram videos) later this year, with prices ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million a day. That price is less than an average Super Bowl ad, but significantly higher than a comparable daily TV commercial. Last year, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” had TV’s highest ad rate, according to Ad Age, an average of $545,142 for a 30-second commercial.

But Facebook also gets far more eyeballs than any TV show. “Every night, 88 million to 100 million people are actively using Facebook during prime-time TV hours in the United States alone,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told investors last week in the company’s earnings conference call.

Overall, Facebook has more than 1.6 billion users worldwide, with 61 percent using it every day. That’s about 142 million users a day in the U.S. and Canada.

According to Bloomberg sources, the Facebook ads would target users only based on age and gender, and appear in a user’s News Feed no more than three times a day. Ads currently appear in about one of every 20 posts on an individual’s News Feed, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in last week’s earnings call that that rate isn’t likely to change. “We haven’t measured a meaningful drop and satisfaction,” he said.

Video ads have been in the pipeline for months, and were originally scheduled for release earlier this year. The latest reports say the rollout is now likely to start in mid-October.

 

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

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