Facebook set to finally launch auto-play video ads in news feeds

Facebook logoFacebook is due to announce the launch of video advertisements in users’ news feeds on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources.

The newspaper added that the new program, which has been anticipated for some time now, is set to launch on Thursday on mobile applications as well as on the desktop browser. The ads apparently are designed to play automatically—a move that is surely bound to irritate many users of the social network. Ad Age reported in September 2013 that Facebook video ads had been originally slated for October 2013, but were then delayed.

Facebook set to finally launch auto-play video ads in news feeds

The Journal, which added that Facebook would charge $2 million per day to let advertisers reach its data-rich user base, noted that a teaser for the Lions Gate film “Divergent” is expected to be one of the first ads.

Last week, TechCrunch published what it claimed was a leaked slide deck for video ads on Facebook.

One of the slides touted:

For example, on TV, advertisers don’t always know who people are and over deliver to certain people and can’t reach other people. So advertisers end up hitting the same people over and over again with a large portion of the audience being underexposed.

With Facebook, you can precisely reach the audience you want and know that your impressions are being delivered to the right people.

Facebook continues to face one of its longstanding challenges: can it make money, particularly on mobile? Video ads may prove one possible way to shore up its bottom line.

According to the company's most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook said it had 874 million mobile monthly active users as of September 2013.

Approximately half of our overall advertising revenue is still generated from advertising on personal computers. In addition, we do not currently offer our Payments infrastructure to applications on mobile devices. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to continue to grow mobile revenues or successfully monetize mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in these efforts, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

Update: Per a report from AllThingsD, the video ads will not currently play audio by default. If the ad is clicked or tapped, it will then play audio. The ads will only load over Wi-Fi, so as not to consume users' data plans, but the ads will be synced and cached in the background such that they can still load and play within Facebook even when the user is on a data connection.

Facebook PR representative Sara Blask has told Ars it is testing ads with only one partner to show ads for the upcoming film Divergent for one day on Thursday. Blask further stated that the deck passed around by TechCrunch is "more of an overall positioning guide for Facebook and how we should position all video on Facebook," not for ads specifically.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Facebook, social networks

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