When Facebook announced it would begin rolling out paid video advertisements that would automatically start playing when a user scrolls past on their newsfeed, many people were obviously not thrilled. The good news for both Facebook users and advertisers is that the videos will not have sound unless clicked, and videos will be pre-loaded on Wi-Fi networks for mobile users with data allowances.
The auto-play video ads will appear in newsfeeds and will begin playing automatically when a user scrolls past the content. Users must click on the video to hear sound. If a user does not want to watch the video, they can continue scrolling down their newsfeed.
Facebook has been testing auto-play videos for several months and many users likely didn?t even notice the change. Videos shared by your friends that appeared in your newsfeed would auto-play without sound, and Facebook actually reports a 10 percent increase in engagement for those videos.
Of course, it?s always a different story when the content is coming from someone you know versus an advertiser intruding on your newsfeed. In an age where advertising is shifting toward being more personal and engaging, some have likened Facebook?s auto-play video ads to other types of intrusive push advertising like banner ads.
The move to offer auto-play video ads was not unexpected as Facebook looks for new ways to grow its advertising revenue. The new auto-play video ads are expected to compete for both Youtube and traditional television advertising dollars.
Additionally, video advertising online is expected to grow as the use of mobile devices creates additional demand for video content. More and more businesses are taking the time and allocating resources to create high-quality, entertaining and informative short videos for social media and their websites. Videos are a fast and effective way to reach your target audience.
As with other Facebook ads, auto-play video ads can also be targeted to a specific demographic. Businesses will need to be careful not to be an intrusion?make sure your videos are reaching those who are most likely to engage with your content. Not only will you get a better return, but you will also stand out from other businesses that cast a wider net in hopes of catching more fish.
The addition of auto-play video ads has undoubtedly received resistance from users, who tend to pushback against any changes to Facebook and feel like the auto-play video ads will be intrusive. But Facebook?s latest offering is indicative of their plans to grow revenue and increase their relevancy in the world of advertising.
Facebook hopes their new auto-play video ads will pull ad dollars from big brands spending on TV commercials, and anticipate that the offering will help reach the tough younger demographic that spends all their time online, not sitting in front of the TV.
The new advertising option may not be the most efficient means of reaching new customers for small businesses, and while pricing has not be released it will likely be priced higher than regular Facebook ads. As with other advertising options, evaluate your choices and determine whether auto-play video ads will help you achieve your advertising goals and meet the return on investment you have established.