Facebook to begin testing video ads

December 17, 2013  |  Canadian Press  |  Comments

Facebook says it’s testing video advertisements that will show up in its users’ news feeds.

When they appear, the advertisements will automatically start playing without sound. Users can either click on the video to view them with sound, or keep scrolling by if they’re not interested.

Facebook confirmed the video ads and explained how they would operate on a blog post today:

•Rather than having to click or tap to play, videos will begin to play as they appear onscreen – without sound – similar to how they behave when shared by friends or verified Pages. If you don’t want to watch the video, you can simply scroll or swipe past it.

•If the video is clicked or tapped and played in full screen, the sound for that video will play as well.

•At the end of the video a carousel of two additional videos will appear, making it easy to continue to discover content from the same marketers.

•On mobile devices, all videos that begin playing as they appear on the screen will have been downloaded in advance when the device was connected to WiFi – meaning this content will not consume data plans, even if you’re not connected to WiFi at the time of playback.

The move has been in the works for some time and was widely expected to happen in the first part of this year.

Introducing video ads is also seen as an attempt by the world’s largest social network to capture a share of the massive $66.4 billion television advertising market. According to an August report in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook planned to charge $2 million a day to reach the full Facebook audience, 18 to 54.

The company’s shares rose $1.05, or 2%, to $54.86 in premarket trading.

Facebook says the idea is still very much in the testing phase and that it’s not currently selling video advertisements.

As part of its testing, Facebook says it’s partnering with Summit Entertainment to show a series of videos related to its upcoming film Divergent to some of its users on Thursday.

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