Facebook's new video ads are pretty much the most tolerable kind of video ad around, so stop your bitching before it even starts.
You know, unless you want to quit internetting altogether. In that case, you probably have a point - Facebook's just-announced autoplay video ads are just another reason to scream at your phone. We're all just walking, talking, farting wallets. I get it. Can't anything just be free? Grr, I quit.
On the other hand, if you're planning on continuing to use the internet (and Facebook, naturally) like a normal human being, you should sit back and thank Zeus that Facebook's video ads are the most non-intrusive, easily avoided ads of their kind that you'll likely come across.
Before you call me a Facebook apologist, let me just say that I'm not a Facebook apologist. I'm really not. Now, that's out of the way. What I am is someone who spends a lot of time sitting through ads - and I'm a realist. You're going to have to deal with ads on Facebook. There was never a time - never - when the possibility of a Facebook utopia, one free of all advertising, existed.
And from what I know about Facebook's upcoming video ad offering I can say, with confidence, that oh man - it could be so much worse. Still, you'll probably see a lot of this in the coming weeks:
Facebook to start using auto-play video ads? You can fuck right off! Final nail in the coffin.
— Kill10Rats (@Kill10Rats) December 17, 2013
Ok then. Here are some things that we know about Facebook's imminent autoplay video ads:
- Yes, they autoplay - the same way your friends' videos also autoplay in your news feed right now.
- They will appear in your news feed just like any other piece of content with which you're familiar.
- The will be silent unless you tap/click them and force fullscreen
My point is simply this: How many other major forms of media consumption (for many so vital to your daily life) allow you to simply ignore the advertisements with one quick flick of the thumb?
"If you don’t want to watch the video, you can simply scroll past it," says Facebook.
Just keep scrolling and all of the content that you want to see awaits you - your friends' witty statuses and their cute babies. Your redneck uncle's insane Obama rants and a photo of the cutest goddamned puppy you've ever seen - it's all there and completely unaffected by the autoplay video ad that you so casually ignored with a simple scroll.
Let's think about other common forms of media consumption - YouTube and live television. Video ads? Of course. Can you skip them? Not immediately - maybe you can after 5 seconds or if you're working from a DVR'ed program.
With most types of video ads you encounter, the ad itself stands between you and the content you want to see. Want to watch this YouTube video? Here, sit through an ad. Want to watch the second half of that NFL game? Here, sit through 45 thousand ads. "Autoplay" ads, I might add. Many websites employ autoplay video ads that divorce you from the articles for at least 5 seconds or so. The fact that Facebook's autoplay video ads basically do nothing to separate you from that real content you desire is kind of astounding.
What if Facebook made you watch a video ad before you accessed your feed? Seriously - now that would be reason to grab the pitchforks. Don't get any ideas, guys.
Here's another thing: the new ads won't bleed your data dry.
"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," says Facebook.
Facebook is and will always be free. For that to happen, you're going to have to deal with some ads. And before you immediately start the ol' "fuck 'em, I'm quitting" bit - just know that it's highly unlikely that Facebook's new video ads are going to negatively impact your experience at all.
Or, if you really want to, you can just quit - I'm not trying to call your bluff or anything.