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Facebook looks to open new advertising channels for publishers

Facebook is promising more advertising channels in a bid to be more lucrative for publishers, along with offering easier subscription services and a crack down on click bait.

Head of the company’s journalism partnerships, Aine Kerr, was speaking to Mumbrella earlier this week at the end of her Australian visit that included appearing before the Senate committee on the future of public interest journalism where it was revealed publishers received on average $100 a week from the service.

Facebook Australia’s Mia Garlick and head of journalism project Aine Kerr

“We are seeing a lot of interest and excitement has been around video monetisation, particularly this idea of ad breaks because if a user has decided this is a topic they are interested in they’ve already engaged, they’ve bought in into your storytelling, to get a little prompt to say, ‘Would you mind watching an ad for 30 seconds?’

“What we’ve found from audiences is they understand the value and return, you have put your time, money and resources into producing this content. The payback from the the public, the user, is ‘Okay I will watch this ad to support journalism on the Facebook platform.’

“This is 100%  revenue back to the publisher.”

At present the service is not available in Australia and Facebook has no locked-in date for its launch, but it has been tested in a number of markets, said Kerr.

“The ad breaks with video demand initially started with them tested in the US and has now been rolled into nine countries and expanding and we’re also testing the concept in live, as part of the test at the moment publishers are testing audience networks.

“They have control of where exactly to place their advertising – is it going to be at the one minute 30 second mark? Is it later on? Generally we’re saying as a principle for the publishers we’re saying with the minute that people have invested their time and energy, they’re interested and users won’t be irritated with an ad at that point.”

Kerr also flagged another channel for publishers will be simplified subscriptions through Facebook’s instant articles service.

“The goal will be people will read stories through Instant Articles, and they will get a prompt and a call to action that ultimately says, ‘You clearly respect this journalism, would you like to sign up or subscribe?’

“So we’ve taken the feedback, we’re building that call to action and that ability to input their credit card details and carry the relationship from there. The important principle of all of this is the publisher will own that relationship and it will be 100% revenue to the publisher.

“In the months to come, we’ll come out with a beta test of this, test it with a small pool of publishers and learn from the feedback to go forward.”

The Facebook executive and former journalist also warned that the company’s war on click bait is going to continue.

“If you are someone who writes accurate, informative headlines you’re going to be amplified through news feed. If you’re a publisher who does a lot of ‘You’ll never believe what will happen next…’ headlines, you may want to rethink that as principle as our audience is telling us they like headlines that inform them and it is what they expect.”

The future of publisher’s relationships with platforms like Facebook will be scrutinised in a keynote session at the upcoming publish conference. Check out the program and get your tickets here.

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