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Facebook Rolls Out Autoplay for Paid Video Ads. This is Only a Test

facebook video adsAttention! Attention! This is a message from the Facebook Marketing Alert system. This is only a test.

Starting right now, some people, when scrolling through their newsfeed on their PC or mobile, might see some video ads that start to play automatically.

Facebook tested the idea first with videos that were shared from person to person. When the videos started automatically they saw a 10% increase in engagement.

For marketers, this is a good thing. Not only does engagement increase but at the end of every video ad is the option to watch several more video ads. All the marketer needs to do is create a video captivating enough to leave people wanting more.

Easy, if you’re promoting a new movie or TV show or video game. Entertainment fans don’t even think of trailers as ads. They’re mini-mini-movies. That’s why Facebook is testing the user reaction by sending out video ads for the new Summit Entertainment scifi movie Divergent.

They’re also taking care of two other concerns right away. First – sound. The video will begin playing but the sound won’t start until you tap to open it. That will prevent embarrassing mishaps – like when you’re checking your newsfeed instead of taking notes during a meeting.

Second – the mobile download bandwidth issue.

On mobile devices, all videos that begin playing as they appear on the screen will have been downloaded in advance when the device was connected to WiFi — meaning this content will not consume data plans, even if you’re not connected to WiFi at the time of playback

Hmm. . that sounds very sneaky and smart at the same time. I’m actually having a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept. What they’re saying is that the app is smart enough to know that it’s going to deliver the ad to you in the future so it downloads the ad while you’re sleeping and your phone is charging at home? Freaky.

Facebook wants to make it clear that you won’t wake up to a feed full of dancing video ads in every slot come Wednesday morning.

This format isn’t intended for every video ad or Page post video on Facebook; it meets specific needs for certain marketers with certain objectives. We’ll continue to refine this new way for brands to tell stories on Facebook to ensure the best experience for people and marketers.

In other words, they’re going to keep inching forward until people yell stop. Then they’ll say, “Don’t worry! It was only a test.”

What do you think? Good thing? Bad thing? Or ain’t no thing at all?