If there’s one type of advertising product that really irks the Internet, it’s auto-play video ads. And with sights set firmly on snatching up advertising dollars, Facebook has some stiff competition, and it’s willing to make our lives a little worse by probably introducing this to the site.
Facebook’s VP of Business David Fischer took to the stage during Stanford’s Future of Media Conference Keynote, and couldn’t avoid the onslaught of questions by Fortune magazine’s senior editor, Adam Lashinsky, about video advertising and Facebook’s place in it. Relenting, Fischer just about gave up the information that Lashinsky was looking for, reports TechCrunch, and acknowledged that Facebook was tinkering around with a video advertising product. Why we haven’t heard any confirmation until now was because Facebook hasn’t figured out how to implement the video ads. “We haven’t put out a product out yet because we haven’t had one we’re comfortable with. But if we could, then we would do it.”
Lashinsky, to his purported dismay, even credited YouTube for having “moved in the right direction” when the company implemented its TrueView advertising product. If you haven’t been on YouTube in a while, what Lashinsky is referring to is YouTube’s pre-roll ads that pop up before the video plays. Users are forced to watch a minimum five seconds of the video ad before deciding whether they want to watch the entire ad. If the user decides the skip the ad after five seconds and before the 30 second mark, advertisers won’t have to pay for the ad. Past 30 seconds though, YouTube is getting paid.
The original story about the auto-play ads appears to be true, although the details mentioned at the time about the video ad units have probably been changed. Since Lashinsky didn’t elaborate on what the video ads would look like, we can presume for now videos will be capped at 15 seconds, and a single ad might be played up to three times per day across platforms. If this wasn’t intrusive enough, the visual component of the ads will be played automatically, but Facebook is reportedly tinkering with and deciding whether or not to enable audio to automatically play in the pre-roll.
Since Facebook isn’t willing to announce anything yet, the details above aren’t set in stone. We’re having trouble figuring out how Facebook will manage to throw video ads into our News Feeds without interrupting and sacrificing the user experience, especially if Facebook decides to mimic TrueView and allow users to close the video after five seconds. It’s hard to imagine there’s any compromise here, and we’ll be watching to see what kind of solution Facebook attempts.