Facebook to Test Auto-Play Video Ads in News Feed

Back in September, Facebook had announced that it was testing a new way of playing videos that appear in the News Feed. With a recent announcement, it has declared the feature’s extension to promoted videos as well.

According to the new feature, videos start playing automatically without sound as they appear in the News Feed. If in case, a viewer wants to watch the video along with the sound, they can click on the video once.

At the end of the video a carousel of two additional videos will appear, that can help a viewer discover content from the same marketers. If a person is not interested in the auto playing video, he/she can ignore it and scroll down the page, and it shall stop playing.

Here is how the feature works:

Since September, testing has been conducted for personal Facebook accounts, verified pages of individuals and some selected pages, such as those of entertainers and sports organizations. On the basis of this pilot test, Facebook has reported more than 10% increase in people watching, liking, sharing and commenting on videos.

To make this enhanced engagement available to marketers and generate an additional form of ad revenue, it made the decision to extend this functionality to promoted videos.

Though the service is being tested on both desktop and mobile, it will auto play these videos only when connected to Wi-Fi and hence, preserve data plans involved in the process. Moreover, for the current round of testing, it is working with Summit Entertainment and Mindshare to promote a series of videos for the upcoming film, Divergent.

Having not disclosed the pricing for this feature yet, Facebook is referring to it as a ‘premium advertising format’. One that is ‘intended to reach a large audience at specific times.’

How does this effect advertisers?

Looking at it from an advertisers point of view, this means that in order to tap the viewer’s attention you need to focus more on visuals now. The content should be worthy enough for a viewer to stop and click and perhaps, watch the entire thing. Relying less on dialogues and more on strong visuals and text might be the appropriate strategy in this case.

Yes, if you were thinking of using television ads on Facebook, you might want to think twice before doing that now.

While auto play as a feature is being questioned by consumers, you cannot deny the fact that they are better than the usual pathway of online ads. They don’t come in the annoying pop-up category of advertisements, they are just there. Neither do you have to sit through tormenting advertisements as on YouTube.

Don’t like it? Just scroll ahead.