Facebook Endorses the 15-Second Benchmark for Content Engagement with ThruPlays


At the beginning of Q4 2018 Facebook introduced its new ThruPlays product for video advertising. It has many different ways to promote video and slideshows on its platform, but this way is unique in that it doesn’t charge the advertiser unless the video has been viewed for at least 15 seconds (or shorter if the video length is shorter. Facebook says on its business-facing website, “The number of times your video was played to completion, or for at least 15 seconds.”

This is significant because it aligns directly with the Chartbeat Analytics’ study on native advertising that shows 70% of users who stay with content post native ad unit click for at least 15 seconds engage with at least 80% of it. It was this study that laid the framework for the 15 second cost per engagement (CPE) pricing model inPowered uses today with its content amplification customers. Facebook calls its model cost per ThruPlay. This 15 seconds has become the standard for content engagement.

However, according to Facebook: This metric is still being tested and may change as we improve our methodologies. We encourage you to use it for directional guidance, but please use caution when using it for historical comparisons or strategic planning.

That said, inPowered has been testing this benchmark for over three years. Last quarter alone the platform drove just under 125,000 video engagements (15 seconds of viewing or more). This data, the details of which will be featured in a subsequent blog post, can be used for historical comparisons and strategic planning, unlike Facebook’s.

The following placements are available in its advertising platform:

  • Facebook: Feed, In-Stream Video, Instant Articles, Suggested Video
  • Instagram: Feed, Stories
  • Audience Network

This latest move by Facebook helped propel its Q4 revenue above expectations. Its net income jumped 61% to $6.8 billion. This bodes well for Facebook, but even more so for inPowered, the pioneer of this pricing model. While the pricing models are similar in nature there are stark differences between the two advertising methodologies.

For example, inPowered not only uses its CPE model on Facebook video, but all forms of content on over 40 native and social networks. Its AI technology optimizes not only to 15 seconds of engagement with content, but constantly tests in order to drive the lowest CPE possible. As the machine learning gets smarter the CPE gets lower. These optimizations happen in real time, providing the best return on ad spend possible.

Facebook, on the other hand, optimizes towards 15 seconds of engagement only, charging based on the “market price” based on supply, demand and probably some other factors, too. It does not continually optimize the price down. That means if an advertiser goes through Facebook directly they will indeed only pay for 15 seconds of video engagement, but they’ll pay a premium to do so.

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