No, users aren’t going to abandon Facebook even though, as previously threatened, it’s going to start displaying intrusive video ads in your newsfeeds. Why? Because there’s never a user backlash to anything Facebook does.
The company is rolling out the long-promised 15-second video advertisements it began testing in December to users across the Web and mobile. The company is partnering with select advertisers, and the promotions will begin to appear in news feeds in late April or early May.
Facebook is wary of upsetting users, so it took its sweet time delivering autoplay ads. The company rolled out autoplay video last fall, buttering us up for the more substantial and intrusive advertising. Facebook ads will silently autoplay as you scroll through the timeline and won’t start blaring audio until you click to open them in fullscreen mode.
Video ads that appear on mobile devices are downloaded in advance when the device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi so as not to use up mobile data. There is no way to avoid video advertising—users are encouraged to simply scroll past anything they don’t want to look at.
Instagram’s Ad Success
Facebook-owned Instagram rolled out its own video advertisements in October, and while some Instagram users left disgruntled comments on sponsored photos and videos, the overall response was positive.
Instagram’s ads have proven so successful, the company inked a $100 million deal with advertising agency Omnicom last week.
The success of Instagram’s social ads is due in part to the beauty and simplicity of the ads themselves, which offer a different look from the flashy online ads we’re used to. The company explicitly said in the initial rollout that its ads will be no different than the standard posts from brands and companies.
Facebook is taking a similar stance to prevent poorly-designed ads from appearing in your timeline. According to Recode, the social network has brought on an outside company to measure the “creative quality of the video in the Facebook environment.” It’s unclear how, exactly, the company will go about doing it, but I imagine it’s Facebook’s way of saying it will make the ads worth watching.
Facebook continues to be one of the most addictive sites on the Web, and it’s going to take a lot more than autoplay advertisements to make users give up their addiction.