Auto-playing video ads arrive in your News Feed
Facebook’s motto has long been “move fast and break things,” but lately it’s been more like “tiptoe around and try not to make people mad.” In the case of the network’s new 15-second auto-playing video ads, which are finally actually here, there’s really no reason to be unprepared when you see one in your News Feed—Facebook has been teasing this move for months.
Like its recent News Feed redesign, Facebook has been talking about auto-playing video ads for the better part of a year, and in December rolled out an official test case for the new Kate Winslet movie Divergent. The official video ad launch on Thursday with a “select group of advertisers” makes the possibility of seeing an auto-playing ad in the wild more likely over the next few months. See? Even the official launch has a buffer.
The ads will slip seamlessly—and quietly—into your feed, only making noise when you click to expand the full video.
Advertisers love auto-playing ads, and for good reason: all those impressionable eyeballs! But users don’t enjoy them that much, especially if they’re loud and intrusive. Facebook will have to tread carefully to make sure the ads aren’t angering people. To that end, Facebook is working with Ace Metrix to evaluate each video ad before it lands in the News Feed, looking specifically for “watchability, meaningfulness, and emotional resonance,” Facebook product marketing manager Susan Buckner said in a Thursday blog post.
“This limited introduction allows us to concentrate our efforts on a smaller number of advertisers with high-quality campaigns to create the best possible experience on Facebook,” Buckner continued.
In other words, if video ads fail hard with users, Facebook can reel back the campaigns without losing face.