After months of rumors and delays, Facebook has confirmed that it will finally begin testing video ads this week for a limited number of accounts. But instead of a full rollout, the ads will appear in News Feeds as part of a one-day trial this Thursday on both mobile and desktop.
Since September, Facebook has been testing different ways to make videos more engaging — just last week, shared auto-play videos arrived on iOS and Android devices. As a result of its experimentation, the social network reported that views, Likes, shares, and comments have increased more than 10 percent.
The company confirmed that its video ads will auto-play without sound, much like the videos shared by friends or verified Pages. If the video is tapped or clicked, it will be played in full screen with sound. Two additional videos will appear at the end, making it easy for viewers to discover content from the same marketer.
Facebook is kicking off the test with a video ad for the new film ‘Divergent,’ which will begin playing for a small group of members when it comes into view in their News Feeds. The company was clear to point out that this is a test and it will make a final decision about whether to roll it out to more members after seeing more data.
The social network has carefully planned for this launch. There have been concerns regarding user experience, and Facebook is doing its best to proactively squash any potential issues. For example, video ad content will be pre-loaded on mobile devices when members are connected to Wi-Fi instead of using up bandwidth. This week’s test will help the company iron out any other issues that could arise during a wider rollout.
You can see the new ad unit in action in the video below. Facebook will make another announcement if/when more video content is added to the test.
[Image credit: mkhmarketing]
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.