Facebook Launches Its 15-Second, Auto-Playing Video Ads

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Facebook just announced that it’s starting to run the video ads that it started testing last fall.

In a company blog post, Facebook says it’s working with “a select group of advertisers,” and that users can expect to start seeing the ads “over the next few months.” The 15-second videos will start auto-playing without sound as they enter your screen, and if you tap, they’ll expand and un-mute.

Apparently the ad-buying process (which Facebook has been trying to simplify in other areas) will be “similar to how advertisers already buy and measure ads on TV.” The idea is to “reach a specific audience over a short period of time,” with ad delivery measured by Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.

It’s probably safe to assume that not all users will be thrilled to see the new ads, particularly since the auto-playing aspect will make it easier for them to grab your attention. However, Facebook executives have said that introducing more ads into the News Feed has had a “limited or negligible impact” on user engagement.

Facebook is also emphasizing the quality of the videos (and it’s only these premium video ads that will autoplay). It says it will be working with Ace Metrix, a company that allows advertisers to test the effectiveness of their videos, to assess the content of each ad before it appears in News Feeds. The post concludes:

With Premium Video Ads, brands now have another way of engaging people on Facebook with compelling video experiences. We’ll roll out Premium Video Ads slowly and monitor how people interact with them. 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.

You can look at an earlier, leaked pitch deck for advertisers here and read the official post, along with a demo video, here.