Marketers will have a potentially powerful new medium for reaching target audiences: Video advertisements embedded in Facebook users’ news feeds. Offering a new way to promote everything from products to movies, the video ads were being tested this week with a small group of Facebook users. “Rather than having to click or tap to play, videos will begin to play as they appear onscreen -- without sound,” Facebook said in a statement.
When users tap the videos, audio will be enabled and the video will play in full-screen mode, according to reports. During piloting this week, Facebook worked with Summit Entertainment on ads to promote its new movie, Divergent. Once green-lighted for wider distribution, the video ads could fetch Facebook as much as $8.4 billion per year in revenue, analysts predict.
Since September, Facebook’s tech team has been trying to improve video capabilities. The social media site declares that views, likes, shares and comments increase when content starts playing automatically. Nonetheless, questions have arisen about how Facebook users will react to automatic ads. Last month, a survey by global marketing consultancy Analytic Partners found that 83% of users would find video ads “intrusive” and would likely “ignore” them.
Facebook’s advice to people who don’t want to see the videos? Quickly scroll past them.