With its nine-month-old Anthology program, Facebook looked to match up brands with publishers for high-end branded-content programs. But since its April launch, Anthology is mostly stalled, beset by high price points and tepid demand.
Facebook’s looking to change that in order to give Anthology a boost. To start, Facebook is slashing the minimum commitment for Anthology programs from “several” million dollars to $1 million, according to publishers. It is also looking to expand the program from the initial pool of seven publishers, which included Vox, Funny or Die, and Vice.
“Facebook was overly ambitious with the deal size to begin with. They wanted huge deals,” said a publishing source. “It’s hard for brands to plunk down lots of money on something new, so we encouraged smaller deals to prove the product.”
The video program’s idea was to allow publishers to act like creative agencies in helping brands produce high-quality video specifically for Facebook’s news feed. The videos would be crafted for Facebook, taking into account how news-feed videos are muted and quickly skipped. Brands like Intel and Rold Gold have been Anthology advertisers. Rold Gold teamed with Electus Digital. Intel hired The Onion to create a spoof video featuring Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson.
Facebook declined to comment for this story or share numbers from the program.
Anthology deals can be struck by either Facebook, which pitches the brands to work with any one of the publishers, or by the publishers, which can bring in the advertisers.
In interviews with several Anthology publishers, the sentiment was that the program has been successful helping advertisers achieve mass reach with their commercials. The only tweaks that needed to be made to the program were around how deals were structured, according to sources.
Publishers are eager to find any way they can to generate money from Facebook video. Many have racked up gigantic view numbers, but right now, there isn’t a widely available way to monetize those views.
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“We’re only seeing Facebook video monetization at about 10 to 20 percent of its potential,” said Jan Rezab, chairman of Socialbakers. “We also need to be seeing more video creation on Facebook before more monetization can happen.”
It’s not unusual for premium ad services like Anthology to start out with high price tags that dampen demand. Twitter’s Promoted Moments, for instance, a new branded experience for advertisers, cost $1 million and has faced some resistance in the market.
Image courtesy of The Onion and Intel.