Imagine several video ads popping up automatically in your Facebook newsfeed every day. Scrolling over them isn’t an option and you have to wait it out to continue on and go about your normal Facebook viewing and posting. This could be a reality as soon as April, 2013.
Rumors that circulated back in December about Facebook running auto-play video ads in the newsfeed were recently confirmed by Facebook CMO David Fisher. He spoke at Stanford’s Future of Media Conference Keynote and said they are trying to figure out the best way to include them without annoying users.
The goal of auto-play video ads is to move towards “attention grabbing” ads rather than the static sideline ads that they currently use. They hope to attract TV advertisers, who would have to pare down their 30-second TV ads) and rake in some of that revenue.
Fischer said he admired YouTube’s use of the pre-roll. The main difference being that YouTube is a site designed specifically for watching videos.
The ads will likely be 15-second videos that start playing automatically. Playing sound during the pre-roll is still an option at this point as well. Those who use Facebook at work may have to reconsider if this happens, due to their disruptive nature.
According to AdAge, executives state that users can expect to see the same ad up to three times a day. Though the current ads shown are only from the site you like or are friends with, the new ads will not have that requirement. Furthermore, they will be breakout videos that expand rather than the existing videos that can be seen on the sidebar.
The reaction to the upcoming change is less than favorable. Though it may be the price to pay for a free social media site, few people are happy about it. Facebook users are more likely to find the ads irritating and intrusive.