Facebook’s Play on Video

December 17, 2013by hiebing2021

With another new Facebook feature live, it’s the perfect time for the socially inclined to find the weaknesses and complain to no end, right? Facebook auto-play ads will be the first evolution in a long time that could have an enormous impact for certain brands – and if it’s done right, will engage users without driving them crazy.

According to Facebook, the new auto-play videos are currently in the testing phase, with select videos from individuals and limited brands appearing for small segment. The approach eases users into the new functionality before the complete rollout.

How it works. Video ads will auto-play on both desktop and mobile without sound, providing the option of clicking or tapping on the post for the full experience. To quell the complaint of data consumption, content is downloaded ahead of time when the user is connected to Wi-Fi. After viewing a video ad, users will see links to two additional videos from the brand, encouraging further engagement and storytelling opportunities.

A marketer looking to plan for the future rollout might take the same approach for Facebook as YouTube video ads. When a user scrolls through the News Feed (or similarly starts playing a YouTube video with ads), the first few seconds are critical to grabbing their attention and leaving them wanting more. That short storyline hook will make or break the user experience.

The new ad space will be a supplementary touchpoint for many brands with already-existing video from TV and the like, adding an additional avenue to tell the brand or campaign story. With organic reach in decline, a new experience with paid advertising will help brands better connect with their target.

The test will likely remain in place for some time while brands get acclimated to the new ad space and Facebook tracks engagement levels (and spam reports) for posts. If you’re a brand with a video-worthy story, it’s never too early to plan to make a splash.

Where do you see Facebook video ads as part of your content strategy? Tell us in the comments.


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