Posted December 19, 2012 4:12 pm by with 2 comments

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pitchmanAdAge has the scoop on a secret Facebook plan to put video ads in your news feed. And not just any ads – but autoplay ads that will begin as soon as you hit them.

AdAge asked an advertising exec for his thoughts on the this idea and the response was priceless;

“There could be serious outrage.”

That simple sentence says it all.

I understand why Facebook would want to go this route. Video advertising is a big money maker and if they can pry some of the cash away from TV advertising, then it would be a real boost to their revenue stream.

But who’s grand idea was it to put the ads in the news feed? Facebook spends so much time adjusting the dials so you don’t get too many posts about this or too few about that, is there really room for videos in between all of that? AdAge says early talks include having the videos open out into the side bars as they play on the web so there’s no chance they’ll be missed. What about mobile? The screen is already cluttered and just think about the folks who pay for the bandwidth they use. They’re not going to wait around for an ad to download.

Video ads work in certain places. I watch them on my iPad, I see them as pre-roll on YouTube and they pop up intermittently when I stream TV shows from Hulu and network websites. Isn’t that enough?

Yes, this is a blog for marketers, so I should be all rah rah and happy about new advertising options but what’s the point if all the ad does is turn folks away? Facebook is already starting to look like one giant product placement agreement but the ads aren’t jumping out to greet me. I regularly visit the Facebook pages of my favorite brands and I’m happy to have their graphics and messages appear in my news feed. If ads start autoplaying every time I visit the site, I won’t be visiting for much longer.

On the marketing side, I’d be concerned about getting charged for ads that play even though no one is paying attention or worse, alienating the Facebook followers I’ve worked so hard to please.

Here’s hoping that the rumors are just that – random thoughts by Facebook’s advertising department that will never actually materialize.

What do you think about the idea of video ads in your Facebook feed?



  • This is just another example of Facebook trying to force ads on people, when they just don’t want them.

    As marketing guys we ought to realise that the route to the buyer’s heart is content marketing, inbound marketing or social marketing. We should be getting people’s connections to recommend a product or service. Instead, the focus is on intrusive advertising like videos, to force a sales or brand message down the public’s throats.

  • I can also see why Facebook might want to implement this, however, time will tell if the autoplay ads will irritate their userbase. My guess is a flood of complaints will ensue if they follow through with this strategy.