Will Consumers Buy Into Facebook’s Video Ads?

    September 14, 2013
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

By now, almost everybody is aware that Facebook is planning on introducing video ads into users’ News Feeds before the end of the year. Before that happens though, Facebook has to nail the execution. After all, one wrong move and Facebook’s new video ads could send users (and ad revenue) fleeing from the social network.

Do you think Facebook will nail video ads? Or will it only serve to drive away users? Let us know in the comments.

On Thursday afternoon, Facebook announced that it was changing how videos play on News Feeds. Instead of clicking on the video thumbnail to start playing the content, the videos will now start to play automatically when a user sees it. The video will be muted, of course, but the user can activate the audio by clicking on the playing video. Doing so will also take the video into full-screen mode.

So, what does this have to do with Facebook’s video ads? It’s obviously Facebook laying the groundwork for how its video ads are going to work in the future. The new Facebook video only works on personal and band pages for now, but Facebook says that it’s using this as a testbed for its eventual rollout of video ads. Here’s what Facebook had to say in a Q&A about advertiser videos:

At first, this feature will be limited to videos posted by individuals, musicians, and bands. We’re doing this to make sure we create the best possible experience. Over time, we’ll continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.

As you can see, Facebook is aware that video ads annoy users. In fact, a report from early August said that Zuckerberg and his engineering team were trying to figure out the best way to make video ads tolerable. It seems that automatically playing the video without sound was their best solution, but doing it that way runs the real risk of said video ads not having any impact at all.

This is where Facebook has to find a delicate balance between making video ads less annoying while still making them appealing to users and advertisers alike. That balance may have already been found in another report stating that Facebook isn’t going to slather a user’s News Feed in video ads all day. Instead, users will only see up to three ads a day from the same advertiser.

All in all, it’s a pretty reasonable set up. Three 15-second ads a day, on top of other Facebook ads, is a small price to pay to keep Facebook free. After all, that’s what this is all about – Facebook making enough money to keep its investors happy, and more importantly, keeping the social network free to use.

With video ads, Facebook may be able to target users who use ad blocking software to remove traditional ads from the social network. Everybody is feeling the sting these days from ad blockers as more and more users opt to just block all ads without ever thinking about the ramifications of blocking the ads on the services they take for granted.

Even if Facebook somehow makes video ads tolerable, it doesn’t mean that users will be accepting of them. According to GoMo News, a study conducted by Censuswide on behalf of AdBlock Plus found that over 70 percent of the respondents don’t want to see ads in Facebook’s mobile app.

The results of the above survey should make Facebook concerned. Facebook mobile use is growing at an explosive rate every quarter with the latest quarter results revealing that U.S. smartphone users spent a combined 225.4 billion minutes on Facebook mobile in Q2 2013. Think of all the ad revenue that would bring in with its new mobile video ads, and how much revenue it would lose if users started using ad blocking software.

This is where things get hairy for Facebook and other platforms that are moving to mobile. The users who already enjoy an ad free experience on desktop due to ad blocking will expect the same thing on mobile. They’ll pursue ad blocking software and other methods to stop Facebook’s attempts to monetize its mobile platform.

Facebook’s is almost entirely reliant on ad revenue these days. It’s just the reality of the modern Web. It’s also a reality that users are becoming increasingly hostile to all forms of advertising. Video ads are not going to improve the situation. The best Facebook can do is make them as tolerable as possible, and point out to users that these ads are the very thing that’s keeping the mobile app they hold dear free to use.

Do you think users will be accepting of Facebook’s video ads? Will they support Facebook’s monetization strategies as long as it keeps Facebook free? Let us know in the comments.

[Image: Facebook]

  • Mike

    Death knell comes to mind.

    • http://Www.foxcom.co.uk Roo f

      Totally agree

  • http://www.billboardbunny.com Tommy Brown

    I have been on Facebook for over 4 years now and the only reason I went there is because I was playing Mafia Wars on MySpace.com Zynga made me stop playing Mafia Wars there and made me get a Facebook account. So if I have to see just one more ad there I will stop playing Mafia Wars and deactivate my Facebook account.

  • http://www.lasvegashomesforsale.us Nick

    I love Facebook, I live. In US and my wife’s parents brothers and sisters live in Europe, we love to see each others pictures on facebook besides other favorite products. I am ok with video ads, Facebook is free plus where am I going to go and why just because I get a free product I love and they want to make some money in return? Go for it Facebook just dont over do it.

  • basanta

    This will annoy and deter people with limited bandwidth or volume-based services, both in terms of cost speed.

  • Eddie

    With the cellphone companies putting data caps and choking speeds… Coupled with the main use of ‘Facebook mobile’ being use to pass time while waiting in line or things of the like, this would deter FB use on mobile platforms. Why not have a pic of an ad for 3 seconds saying,” brought to you by Widget-Maker X”, instead of video?

  • http://www.cashunite.com/ashtrayblues Patsy Ankrom

    I think its a great idea.Go for it Facebook.

  • http://out-of-body-experience.info/ Tim

    A lot of users are definitely going to hate it, but it’s kind of weird that people will inevitably have a negative reaction. Users of any free platform have got to be aware that if a product appears to be free then chances are the product that is for sale is you, or data that you are choosing to provide. The only major exception I can think of in the online world is Wikipedia, can any other reader name many more?

  • http://Www.foxcom.co.uk Roo f

    I would rather pay a low annual membership fee like £10/-15 annually and remove all adds

    It’s not our fault if zuckrrman has to earn his 20billion is it.

    If not I will ditch it. Am sick of it changing every month.


    If Facebook or any other web-based company charges for the use of their site, I say, “Let them choke on it. As Netzero used to say, “The web was meant to be free.”

  • http://myairsoftsuperstore.com Art

    F/B is already annoying enough with like this like that and ads everywhere. F/B to begin with was just friends mingling and that’s all it will ever be. I it doesn’t clean up its act it go tits up.

  • http://www.fallspestcontrol.com.au aussiesydney

    will loose many Australian Facebook people..already youtube is koosing thousands here in aus due to their video introduction..bye bye face book..

  • http://www.fallspestcontrol.com.au aussiesydney

    face biik will go the way of youtube here in Australia. ..when they started the video introduction before the video u wanted to see they lost thousands. .and have never fully recovered since..bye bye Facebook

  • http://www.murderbydesign.com.au Angela Cockburn

    I cannot stand slow loading intrusive commercials using my limited bandwidth. I don’t pay to see ads. I’m already avoiding a previously favoured newspaper site because of its irritating reporter-talking-head videos following irrelevant commercials.

    FB and others are forgetting, people do not perceive the Internet as free – they pay for the connection and they pay for the bandwidth. FB and others asking for fees appear to be double-dipping. Perhaps they need to move onto a premium service model.

  • KS

    There’s nothing wrong in making one’s product better but certainly it will be a problem with people having low-bandwidth. So, don’t think many will like it.

  • Jeremy Lansman

    The experience for those with data caps will be pretty bad. 3 GB/mo @ 2 mb/s for about $ 80 USD, and it often ran over costing plenty more. And pre pay mobile? One will think twice before clicking to fb. Much of the world is far less well connected. I think FB better dump a lot of dough into O3B before taking video ads outside of the USA.

  • desbest

    This is what happens when companies go public. Crippling user experience money stunts like this.

  • innocent21

    This cannot be good.

  • April anderson

    Drive them away.

  • http://sallybahner.blogspot.com Sally Bahner

    There is no way video ADS will be palatable to Facebook users. Does anyone “like” ads on Facebook as it is? I hardly think video ads will be an improvement. People complain about ads that precede news videos. What makes Facebook think this will go over any better? They are shooting themselves in the foot.
    The only one to benefit will be AdBlock Plus!

  • http://adwordsguy.com Adwords Montreal

    I think it’s great to have an alternative to Google, keeps things competitive which is good for everyone.