Facebook Cashing In On Video Ads As MENA Users Reach 74m

The social networking website is tapping in on its recently introduced video features to attract more advertising revenues.



Social networking giant Facebook is cashing in on its video advertising options, especially through mobile platforms, as the company’s number of monthly active users in the MENA region surged to 74 million in Q3, 2014.

Facebook, which recently introduced a number of video features to its newsfeed, said that the video consumption globally through its website grew 50 per cent between May and June this year. The site also garners about one billion video views a day, company executives said.

“People are consuming more and more content everyday and the platforms they are viewing them on have also changed,” said Matthew Corbin, Facebook’s Global Agency Lead.

“TV has seen a slight decline but we saw a 267 per cent growth in digital. Additionally, this growth is being driven by mobile consumption and that is where the people are discovering videos.”

The majority of Facebook users in the region also use mobile to access the site, latest company figures showed.

Out of the 74 million monthly active users recorded during Q3 2014 in the MENA region, around 32 million – consisting of 80 per cent of the total users- came from mobile.

“The shift is so fast that it is hard to change the systems and the approach we have to suit the speed at which people have been switching,” Mark D’Arcy, VP chief creative officer, Facebook told Gulf Business.

“For Facebook at least, having mobile as an afterthought is not a great business strategy at all.”

The social network’s mobile advertising revenues have also grown steadily representing almost 66 per cent of the total advertising revenues in Q3 2014. Revenues from mobile ads grew 49 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter.

D’Arcy added that the social networking site’s biggest selling point among advertisers is its large reach.

“People know that we have a significantly high volume. We can build and connect on this platform and when you add video to that, which is the primary content muscle that our industry has, through multiple screens and through autoplay, the enthusiasm of the clients is significant.”

As part of its push in marketing video ads, Facebook introduced a new video feature called autoplay in March that allows videos in a users’ newsfeed to begin playing automatically. The videos, which are activated when a user scrolls over them but will not have a sound unless it is clicked on, has also widened the scope of advertising in Facebook, executives said.

Although the company did not provide a breakdown of region specific figures for its revenues from video ads, D’Arcy said that the uptake in the region was quite strong.

On being asked if Facebook’s focus on advertising impacts user experience, he said that the company is being selective about how they integrate ads.

“The issue people have with advertising in any medium is that of relevance,” said D’Arcy.

“The trick is that how do we use advertising to get more relevant things to relevant people all the time. The more things you see in your newsfeed that is exciting and useful, the more you are going to enjoy being in that platform. We are taking this idea very seriously as there is an option in every single ad in the newsfeed to block it as well.”