Over the past few years, Facebook has continued to offer marketers new advertising options every few months. Keeping to this schedule, Facebook is reportedly on course to offer advertisers the option to display video ads in users’ news feeds on both desktop and mobile in early 2013.
Though not much is known about this new feature yet, Adage is reporting that it will launch by April 2013 at the latest. As many advertisers know, video ads are usually a very lucrative product, as users are forced to watch them for a specified amount of time before users can access content. Reportedly Facebook video ads will autoplay (though a final decision has not been made on this yet) and be a maximum length of 15 seconds. For big brands, this will mean some serious editing to reduce their normal 30-second advertising clip used in traditional media to a 15 second Facebook video clip.
But will video ads be a good strategy for advertisers to incorporate into their Facebook campaigns – and frantically budget for in 2013? First, it’s currently unknown what kind of targeting options advertisers will be armed with for Facebook video ads. Will it will have the same targeting options as Facebook’s current ad products and allow targeting of certain demographics, friends of friends, etc? Targeting is critical for a successful Facebook ad campaign, and without knowing what options will be available, it’s difficult to ascertain how successful this product could be for any brand in terms of conversions.
Also, generally speaking, anything that autoplays anywhere on the internet generates backlash. On the desktop, an autoplay ad on Facebook could be extremely detrimental in several environments – but especially in the office. (Just imagine someone who is sneaking on to Facebook against company rules without their volume turned down, only to have a Facebook video ad autoplay. Ouch.) As over 50% of Facebook users browse the site via a mobile device, it’s critical to not annoy these users as well. Even if the advertisements don’t autoplay on Facebook’s mobile apps, these ads will still drain both precious data and battery life. The resulting effects on both desktop and mobile will either lead Facebook users to stop using Facebook altogether, which is highly unlikely, or more realistically cause users to just dislike brands using Facebook video ads.
Aside from the fact that video is just not in everyone’s budget, there are plenty of other advertising options that will work for brands beside Facebook video ads. Options that won’t annoy your current fans and potential customers to the point that your advertising campaigns are detrimental to your brand and/or your ad spend.
Let us know what you think. Are you looking forward to video ads on Facebook?
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.