December 17, 2013
Brace yourselves, lads and lasses, because a Facebook video ad storm is a-brewing. Later this week, Facebook is expected to be invaded by auto-playing video ads. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, the social networking giant plans to debut the ads as early as this Thursday. "The ads, which will play automatically in users' news feeds may help Facebook capture a share of the $66.4 billion advertisers are expected to spend on U.S. television this year," the publication notes. "Facebook plans to make the announcement on Tuesday and the ads will begin on Thursday on users' feeds both on the Web and on smartphones, the people familiar with the matter said." Last week, Facebook updated its mobile apps, including its official iOS app, to add support for auto-playing videos. Consequently, when a user scrolls to a video on the News Feed, the video automatically starts playing. The video initially plays without audio, but it can be tapped to play both with sound and in full screen. Auto-playing videos have been rolling out for users of the Facebook website as well. Of course, as with the Facebook-owned Instagram, Facebook's launch of auto-playing videos on its mobile and Web versions was deemed a foreshadowing of the arrival of auto-playing video ads. And according to The Wall Street Journal, one of the very first auto-playing video ads to arrive will be a teaser for the upcoming science fiction adventure film "Divergent." The length of the ads is yet unknown, but it's pegged to be no more then 15 seconds for each ad both on mobile and on the Web.