Facebook Delays Video Ad Launch

We’ve all been hanging on bated breath for the incorporation of video ads into the Facebook News Feed. By “we” I mostly mean marketers looking to drop $1 million for a day’s worth of ads and marketing bloggers looking to over-analyze them. Everyone else has been rather ambivalent.

Facebook announced the video plan in April, and expected to release ads this summer. Now the launch has been delayed until October, according to AdAge. In Facebook’s defense, they’ve had a pretty busy few weeks. Between the launch of hashtags and a major press conference tomorrow, they haven’t had the time to lace user experiences with video pop-ups.

For $1 million, advertisers will have their videos played throughout the day for one of four different target audiences: men under 30, men over 30, women under 30, and women over 30. There’s also the option of upgrading to the package deal of targeting all US-based Facebook users for $2.4 million.

facebook2After the page loads, the video will expand from its normal area in the News Feed to cover the screen and play the ads. Visitors will see video ads a maximum of three times per day.

As spam blockers have grown more advanced and pop-up windows have all but vanished, the autoplay ad has arisen as the new most annoying aspect of Internet life. Think about all the times you wanted to watch a 30-second news clip but had to sit through a 15-second ad beforehand. Think about the time you had 20 different tabs open and one of them started to blast a video – courtesy of autoplay. We accept it as an annoying part of life.

Josh Sternberg of Digiday questions the effectiveness of autoplay ads. He doesn’t blame advertisers for considering autoplay ads as a tactic and instead blames the publishers for failing to create a good user experience.

The issue is that ultimately these autoplays are up to the publisher. Advertisers and agencies rely on publishers to know what’s best for their audiences and recommend things that make sense.

From his stance, ad effectiveness is only partially on the marketer. They need to create a quality ad and choose which sites would be the best for reaching their audience, but it’s the job of web owners to make sure the ads integrate smoothly. If Facebook finds their bounce rates increasing after they launch the ads, they will quickly know that users can’t be bothered to stick around through the 15 seconds. The content isn’t worth waiting for.

imagesOf course, Facebook isn’t an up-and-coming blog trying to increase traffic and possibly monetize with video ads. They’re a multi-billion dollar company whose sole purpose is making a profit, and that’s exactly what they plan to do with video ads. In the AdAge article, the main concern raised about the delay isn’t whether users will respond in a positive or negative manner, it’s that Facebook won’t have the opportunity to make millions of dollars more in ad money throughout the summer.

Let’s hope the delay in Facebook video ads is meant to give their developers more time to iron out the kinks and make the user experience better. If not, users might just bounce.

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Amanda Dodge