Facebook is turning out to be a major video destination although it's not what the social site is best known for. Indeed, don't be fooled. Facebook's video ads performance is putting to shame other channels. The secret? Social games' virtual currencies - and yes, inevitably, Zynga.
Studying 25 majors video advertising campaigns, TubeMogul, the online video distribution, ad and analytics platform, found that Facebook attracts "some of the most engaged viewers online," translating into the most minutes watched per view.
Someone watching a video on Facebook is likely to spend 1:45 minutes on the ad, whereas a viewer on Bing will only give it 1:16 minutes, TubeMogul said in its report. In between those two ends of the spectrum, Yahoo garners an average 1:28 minutes of retina time, Google 1:32 and Twitter 1:44, right behind Facebook.
Note that Microsoft, who insists the industry adopts Dwell Time as an ROI metric, is not faring too well with its own indicator, it seems.
Various Ads Types
Another reason for the success of video advertising on Marc Zuckerberg's platform is the variety of ad types it supports across the site: it carries branded Fan Page embeds and uploads, official "Sponsored Videos" (both clicked and not), in-banner display ads within apps, interstitials within games and apps... and virtual currency within games.
The latter one, social games virtual currency, is clearly what drives click-through rate and sharing increases.
And it also boosts completion rates.
Now Some Figures
A few digits to explain it all. Sit back - or sit straight, but do sit.
According to comScore's April U.S. Online Video Rankings, Facebook is number five video destination with over 41 million unique viewers, after Google (136.3 million), Yahoo (49.5 million), Fox Interactive (43.7 million) and young player Vevo (43.6 million). This means that it beat Microsoft as well as networks such as CBS and Turner.
So that explains the eyeballs numbers.
Secondly, the virtual economy is valued at $10 billion in 2010, a figure that leaves ample scope for development if you're an advertiser.
Also, as TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson said in his presentation at OMMA video (see below), bearing in mind that a game like Farmville on its own accounts for 100 million unique users, you can easily understand why gaming virtual currency is big and how viewers' engagement is boosted by their use of and loyalty to the game.
And speaking of Farmville, its developer, Zynga immediately springs to mind. It is bound to Facebook by a five-year non-exclusive deal that is set to secure the bulk of Zynga's expected revenues in excess of $355 million this year.
Zynga does have amazing figures on its own record, accounting for four of the most successful apps on Facebook, including Farmville and Texas HoldEm Poker.
The game platform keeps on expanding in all directions, having launched its latest game, "FrontierVille" last week, and being tipped to have received $147 million in funding from Softbank to boost its Asian presence.
Last, but not least, costs. Prices of videos ads placements are the lightest for virtual currency, making it the most performing and effective Facebook video outlet.
Are you convinced yet?
Here's the video of TubeMogul's Brett Wilson presenting the study at OMMA Video in New York: