Facebook’s Version of YouTube Takes Shape With Pranksters, Magicians and Cartoons

He added, “As far as video content goes, if you don’t have a Watch page, you’re kind of dead in the water right this second.” The ad revenue has been welcome, he said, noting that he was previously more reliant on outside deals with sponsors.

Mr. Dein, a 24-year-old magician from London who posts videos of street performances around the world, was able to start running video ads on his page in July. He said Facebook’s rules affected the kind of videos that performed well, noting that ads can run after a minute as long as the video is at least three minutes long.

“With me, since I’m magic, I’ll make sure the ad is on an exciting moment of the video,” Mr. Dein said. “If I’m about to cut my finger open for a magic trick, the ad plays just as the knife goes down.”

Mr. Dein said he had found it harder to produce “super-viral videos,” like one he posted last year about homeless people reacting to magic, which he said had been watched more than 200 million times. But he said it made sense for Facebook to mimic YouTube and adopt longer-form content to appeal to advertisers.

“If someone’s watching a vlogger like Logan Paul and tuned into that person, they’re paying more attention to the ad, whereas if someone is watching a seven-second clip, they don’t care about the video or the ad,” he said.

Max, Rebeen and Arman Jalal, who live in Melbourne, Australia, have amassed millions of fans on Facebook and YouTube through their unique and sometimes shocking brand of prank videos. (The brothers were once arrested after faking a series of terror attacks.)

The Jalals, who are in their late teens and early 20s, have been able to run ads on some of their videos since August, they said in a Skype interview. One Watch video that they posted in September, featuring a nun frightening people in places like a parking garage, attracted more than 130 million views and earned the brothers $140,000, they said.