Although Facebook has postponed the launch of autoplay video ads due to concerns over user experience, it hasn’t stopped the company from testing this functionality with videos uploaded by individuals.
The social network announced Thursday that within the coming weeks it will be testing auto-play videos within the mobile News Feed for a small group of U.S. members. When someone swipes through his or her News Feed and comes across a video it will automatically begin playing.
Each video will pay silently and can be viewed with sound by clicking on it. The new capability will only apply to videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook, not embedded from other sites like YouTube. Additionally, only videos shared by individuals, bands, or musicians will automatically play.
Brands like Ford or Microsoft won’t be able to use this feature for promotional videos or ads; however, Pages like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé are eligible. Although these videos can be promoted beyond organic means, a spokesperson for the company noted that Facebook will continue to explore how to bring this functionality to marketers in the future.
As a reminder, not everyone will have autoplay videos in their mobile News Feed. If the social network receives enough positive feedback from the small test group, it’s possible that this feature could roll out to a wider audience. By getting members used to autoplay videos from friends and people they’re interested in, it might make things easier when Facebook tries to transition them into advertisements.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.