As has been rumored and planned for months, Facebook announced this morning auto-play video advertisements (without sound) in the mobile and desktop News Feeds. This will be a small test among select users who will see video ads for the film, “Divergent,” in their News Feed.
Facebook made the announcement in a blog post:
Since September, we’ve been testing a way to make videos more engaging on Facebook, and as a result we’ve seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent.
We’re beginning to test a similar video viewing format for advertisers. 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. This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed.
It will be interesting to see the user reaction to this, especially as so many people use Vine or Instagram, where auto-play video posts are the norm.
As Facebook advertisers everywhere gear up for what could be a very lucrative holiday season, there’s one hotly-debated ad format they won’t be able to try — the auto-play video ad. According to AllThingsD, these controversial video ads will not grace a News Feed in 2013.
Facebook on Monday announced that video is coming to its mobile app ad products. Advertisers can now also bid on ads by cost per acquisition (CPA).
More video is slowly seeping its way into Facebook’s mobile News Feed. Last month, Facebook announced the test of auto-play video for musicians and celebrities (that cannot be boosted via advertising), and more advertisers are getting on board with video. Now developers can allow users to tap on the ad to play a video showcasing app usage or gameplay.
Photographer Meagan Cignoli has shot short video ads on Instagram and Vine for major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Ciroc and Lowe’s — among many others. Complex Magazine named her one of 15 non-celebrities to follow on Vine.
We’re lucky enough to have Cignoli speaking at the Inside Social Marketing conference, Dec. 3-4 in New York, where she’ll discuss the rise of video in social marketing campaigns and how brands can capture attention in 6 or 15-second chances. Register for the conference by clicking here.
In advance of the conference, Cignoli sat down for a brief Q&A with Inside Facebook about the fast-growing field of social video marketing.
Inside Facebook: What are some of the challenges that come with shooting for a 6 or 15-second final product?
Meagan Cignoli: It is hard to tell a story in a short amount of time, so it really pushes the boundaries of your creativity.
Facebook announced Thursday that within the coming weeks, the company is testing autoplay videos within the mobile News Feed for a small group of U.S. users. When a mobile user swipes through their News Feed and comes across a video from an individual or a page of a musician or band, it will automatically play. Sound will only turn on after a user taps on the video.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Inside Facebook that these videos cannot be boosted or advertised at all beyond organic.
It’s no secret that Facebook is planning to add auto-play video ads to the News Feed at some point. However, as the company tries to find the balance between profit and user experience, this ad product keeps getting delayed. Now it is being delayed indefinitely, according to AdAge.
The company is concerned that the user backlash would be too severe, especially if Facebook had the audio playing automatically along with the video. Facebook was hoping to launch video ads in News Feed by October, but sources told AdAge that the social network has delayed this controversial ad unit once again, not giving a target date.
Ever since Facebook purchased Instagram, Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that advertising will come to the photo sharing service.
During Wednesday’s second quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg pretty much confirmed that someday, Instagram will have ads:
(Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom) has always been clear that we’re building Instagram to be a business, and that’s – we expect that over time, we’re going to generate a lot of profit from it and probably through advertising. Now, that all said, right now, it’s just growing so quickly. I mean, the number that we’ve just said was 130 million monthly actives, video product is growing really quickly. There are so many directions to expand this in, that we think that the right focus for now, is to continue just focusing on increasing the footprint of Instagram and when the right time comes and we’ll think about doing advertising as well, and I think that’s going to be a really big opportunity.
Advertising could be huge on Instagram, as brands are increasingly flocking to it. According to Simply Measured, 67 of the Interbrand 100 companies are on the site already, engaging with users and sharing highly visual content. Among these 67 brands on Instagram, there’s an audience of 7 million users, and growing.
Several brands — such as MTV and Mercedes-Benz — have seen loads of engagement through Instagram, showing that people do comment and like Instagram photos from companies. Furthermore, Starbucks and Nike have not been afraid to utilize Instagram video for success.
Facebook recently announced a significant reduction in the number of ads available to social advertisers, yet amid this reduction they’re still planning to rollout new in-News Feed video ads, potentially this fall. So why video ads? What can serious Facebook advertisers expect from the new offering? How can they prepare to capitalize when video ads launch?
Why Video Ads?
According to Nielsen, 64 percent of brand marketers plan to increase spending for online video ads, while 73 percent of agencies plan to follow suit. To some degree, these plans come in response to increased consumer willingness to engage with video ads. A poll conducted by visual classification company WeSEE found “30 percent of consumers say they would watch a video ad about a topic they have recently posted about, if the video wasn’t too long.” and there appears to be enormous interest and potential in online video advertising. These numbers paint a very clear picture; with consumers and advertisers interest; it’s easy to understand Facebook’s plans.
Facebook is reportedly considering auto-play video ads in the News Feed (though apparently, this decision may be delayed a few more months). Statistics compiled this year from comScore show that it can be a viable place for advertisers — so long as these ads are done properly.
Since the beginning of the year, Facebook users in the U.S. are seeing more videos and spending more time watching videos. Unique users have grown since January, even though video popularity took a bit of a dip in June. The latest stats from comScore show that in June, Facebook had 61,646 unique video viewers in the U.S., which is down from the March high of 63,821, but up from the January total of 56,953.
This shows that, while the June numbers are a bit down, U.S. Facebook users are becoming increasingly used to engaging with videos in the News Feed.
Hulu has decided to move away from frictionless sharing on Facebook, starting July 18. Many Hulu users have started to see a notification that the site will no longer auto-post to Facebook whenever someone watches a video. An Inside Facebook reader brought this to our attention.
While users can still manually share to Facebook, Hulu is rolling out an end to automatic sharing.