Facebook caught a great deal of flak when it introduced auto-play videos into the News Feed late last year, but they appear to be working for brands, as Adobe revealed in its Q1 2014 Social Intelligence Report that engagement with those videos was up 58 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the fourth quarter of 2013, and up 25 percent year-over-year.
The proof is in the Paper: Merely hours after Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the social network’s focus on building separate mobile applications beyond its flagship apps during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday, Facebook officially announced the rollout of Paper, which has been rumored since earlier this month.
The Facebook feature that has been long anticipated by marketers and long dreaded by users is one large step closer to becoming a reality, as the social network announced Tuesday that it will officially begin testing video ads this week, with “a small number of people” who will see a spot for upcoming feature film Divergent when they access their News Feeds on desktop or mobile.
Most users of Facebook’s flagship applications for iOS and Android may have noticed that videos shared in their News Feeds via the social network or Instagram are now set to play automatically, without sound, rather than being displayed with a play button in the center of the image.
As Facebook is rumored to be working on 15-second video ads that would start automatically (it’s still unclear whether audio will accompany these ads), user response has been overwhelmingly negative. But one video-animation firm thinks that there’s a way that the social network can serve video ads on mobile devices without disrupting the user experience. Derek Merdinyan, founder of Video Igniter, thinks that a photo-based ad unit where users turn the phone landscape-style to view a video could be a way for Facebook to make video ads work somewhat peacefully.