Marketers have given a thumbs up to Facebook's announcement this week that it will offer new pricing options for video ads.
But many still say the changes don't go far enough, and analysts say the additional demands advertisers are making may signify a shift in the balance of power away from new media platforms and toward marketers, as the battle for social ad dollars intensifies and marketers adjust their strategies in response to consumer reaction.
Facebook said this week that advertisers now have the option of paying for an ad only when it's seen for at least 10 seconds, rather than paying the moment the ad comes onto a user's screen.
It's a move advertisers have been urging for some time, so that clients are not charged for video that rolls without actually being watched by consumers. (Trying to measure how effective an ad campaign is—and even whether anyone is paying attention—is of course a perpetual advertising challenge.)
The social media giant contends that ads can have an impact from the first frame of video—a position it says is supported by a Facebook-Nielsen study—but the company wants to give marketers what they want, said a Facebook spokesperson.
"We're testing this way of buying because we want to give marketers choice in how they buy video ads," the spokesperson said.
Even with the change, though, big advertisers want more—especially more evidence that their campaigns are being seen.
Lisa Weinstein, Starcom Mediavest Group's president of global digital data and analytics, said the challenge is still figuring out if an ad is being seen by its target audience and delivering the intended message.
WPP's GroupM, whose investments for clients include Unilever, Dell and Ford Motor (and account for 1 in 3 ads globally) agrees that social media in general needs to go further to satisfy many of its clients.
"This is a step in the right direction, it is, but there is still quite a ways to go," said Ari Bluman, GroupM North America's chief digital investment officer.
GroupM has come out aggressively with clients demanding more transparency and better measurement tools for digital video ads. "I think folks that are hoping it stays like this are fooling themselves—change is automatic," Bluman added.
Dentsu Aegis Network, which counts General Motors, Macy's and Microsoft among its clients, does not expect Facebook's move to change the way companies buy video ads on the platform. "If I want to get as many people as possible then Facebook is a no-brainer," said Travis Freeman, Dentsu Aegis Network's head of social.