Facebook is looking down the barrel of a future advertising crisis, so it’s trying to think up new ways to put “buy now” links in front of your peepers. The company’s top brass believe the answers will come from Instagram, Whatsapp, and video.

As ad blockers and sponsored content meltdowns rip first-generation web media companies apart, Facebook is trying to keep the ad money firehose open. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook CFO David Wehner spoke to analysts today about the company’s plans.

First, you can expect to see more ads in the “visual” services owned by Facebook, including the photo and video-driven social network Instagram. Already, Instagram is injecting sponsored posts into people’s feeds. Currently they aren’t very obtrusive, but that may change, especially when Facebook starts to delve into ads for video.

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According to Zuckerberg, people on Facebook are watching 8 billion video clips per day. Now the company is trying to figure out a way to monetize those eyeballs. Unfortunately, that may turn out to be harder than they think, especially because Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook got that 8 billion number by counting a “view” when people watch a video for 3 seconds or more. Unless Facebook is trying to invent the blipvert, it may wind up being hard for advertisers to fit an ad into those 3 seconds.

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Writing for the Associated Press, Brandon Bailey reports:

Facebook is also increasingly introducing new ways for its users to share and watch video on the social network, positioning itself against Google’s popular YouTube service ... Analysts say Facebook has huge, untapped potential in both video and its growing stable of apps and services, many of which operate separately from the main social network. That includes Instagram, the WhatsApp messaging app and Oculus VR, which makes virtual reality gear.

Basically, Facebook is doing what more traditional media companies like Vice Media and BuzzFeed are doing too: Putting all its faith in video ads, as banner ads and sponsored posts are tossed into the ashcan of internet history.

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The difference is that Facebook can add social media to the mix. Maybe they’ll inject ads right into the video that your best friend posted on Instagram. Or maybe they have something more innovative planned. Either way, you can expect more video ads to interrupt your important social media experience in the near future.


Contact the author at annalee@gizmodo.com.
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