Small Business News

Facebook Readies Video Ads For Marketers

acebook announced on Tuesday that it is testing a new promoted video format in the News Feed, starting with one for the new film Divergent on Thursday.

Facebook has been testing similar ads since September, and says that as a result, it has seen views, likes, shares and comments increase over 10%. Of course, it probably helps that changes to the News Feed algorithm make it far less likely that users will even see brand messages unless they’re paid for.

“Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time – with high-quality sight, sound and motion,” Facebook says of the new format. “This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed.”

“Compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns, particularly when brands want to increase awareness and attention over a short period of time,” it says. “From launching new products to shifting brand sentiment, this video format is ideal for marketers who are looking to make a large-scale impact, and for people who will discover more great content in their News Feeds.”

The format is designed for “awareness campaigns” aimed at large numbers of people in a short amount of time. Page post video ads can come into play to sustain the message of the initial campaign over longer periods of time in more targeted way, according to the company.

The ads will autoplay as they appear on screen without sound. Users can simply scroll past them like any other content in the New Feed if they don’t wish to watch the video. If the user taps or clicks the video, it will be played in full screen, and the sound will play.

When the video is over, it will display two additional videos from the same marketer, which users will have the option of watching.

Videos will be downloaded in advance on mobile devices when they connect to WiFi, so the content won’t consume data plans.

For the Divergent ads, Facebook has been working with Summit Entertainment and Mindshare. There will be a series of videos promoting the film.

According to Facebook, the format isn’t intended for all video ads or Page post videos on Facebook, but meets “specific needs for certain marketers with certain objectives.”

The company says it will continue to refine the format. While it’s only a small test for now, it sounds like we can expect an announcement of broader availability in time. Facebook is simply telling marketers it will let them know. They’re not talking about the pricing for the format.

If you’re wondering whether all promoted videos will begin playing as soon as they appear, you’ll just have to wait and see. Facebook hasn’t decided yet, but is using what it learns from this initial test to determine what to do. If users react favorably, we can probably expect a lot more autoplaying videos in our News Feeds.

So far, the reaction from marketers seems to be relatively positive. We’ll see what users think.

Users should already be getting used to the idea of autoplay videos. Facebook introduced this functionality to user videos a few months ago, and it’s been that way in Instagram for a while now.

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