Facebook Video Ads Coming Soon
December 17, 2013

Facebook Video Ads Are Coming Your Way

Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Facebook users may see videos in their feeds this week; video advertisements that is. The social network announced on Tuesday that it was testing a new way for users to watch promoted videos in the news feed.

This follows news from last summer that Facebook would soon launch video ads. In August it was reported that the social media giant would offer video ads that would be no longer than 15 seconds, and would be scheduled so that no Facebook users sees more than three such ads per day. The first ads may finally roll out this week.

“Since September, we’ve been testing a way to make videos more engaging on Facebook, and as a result we've seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent,” the company wrote on its blog. “We’re beginning to test a similar video viewing format for advertisers. Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time - with high-quality sight, sound and motion. This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed.”

The first ad will be a teaser trailer for the film Divergent from Lions Gate Entertainment, which is slated for release in March. It won’t be the same teaser that can be seen on YouTube or across the web. Instead, it was produced specifically for Facebook users, and will be a reported 15 seconds in length.

Facebook sees this as a test rollout of the video ads, and as such will only be seen by what it says will be a “small number of people.”

Those who are treated to the ad won’t have to click or tap to play it, and the video will begin to play as soon as it appears on screen. It will begin without sound, and if users don’t want to watch the video they can scroll or swipe past it. If the video is clicked or tapped, which will play it in full screen, and then the sound will play. At the end of the video a carousel with two addition videos will appear, and the company noted it's way to make “it easy to continue to discover content from the same marketers.”

Apart from actually clicking or tapping on the video, it is unclear if Facebook can determine who actually does watch it, or how they might measure user engagement. Moreover there is no apparent way to prevent the ads from playing as these appear on the screen.

Videos on mobile devices will apparently be a little different. The social network posted that on mobile devices, "all videos that begin playing as they appear on the screen will have been downloaded in advance when the device was connected to WiFi – meaning this content will not consume data plans, even if you're not connected to WiFi at the time of playback.”

The exact pricing of the ads to marketers hasn’t been announced, but The Wall Street Journal reported in August that Facebook planned to charge $2 million a day to advertisers, and this would reach the full Facebook audience of adults aged 18 to 54. By contrast, the paper reported that data-research firm, eMarketer, expects advertisers to spend a total of $66.4 billion on television ads this year.

“We expect video to be more expensive,” Dan Slagen, senior vice president of marketing for Nanigans, a digital-marketing software company, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday. “But we're going to see advertisers willing to pay.”