True to form, Facebook users are outraged over the introduction of video ads before they’ve even been fully rolled out. Marketers, however, are singing a different tune; most are enthusiastic about the opportunity to reach users directly through their scrolling news feed, rather than via a sidebar. Still, as always, there are some cons to consider. Here’s the breakdown:
PRO: The ads will play automatically once users scroll through their news feeds. They don’t need to press play, or engage in any way to view the video.
CON: By default, all the video ads will be on mute. To hear the audio, users have to interact with the ad either by clicking or tapping.
PRO: Many users access their Facebook profiles through mobile devices, and one of their biggest concerns has been that the video ads will rack up some major data charges on their cell-phone bills. This won’t be the case, Facebook claims. The auto-playing ads will appear on both the desktop and mobile versions of Facebook, but ads will download only when the user is connected to WiFi.
CON: Once the ads are downloaded, they’ll be stored using mobile device memory until the viewer opens the Facebook app and scrolls through his news feed. While it’s still unclear how much mobile memory and storage space the ads will require, the feature is likely to slow down app performance and device performance overall. This could be particularly annoying for consumers with older devices, such as the iPhone 4S.
PRO (For Facebook): Up until recently, Facebook was slow to respond to the growth of mobile devices. Their app remained stagnant, and advertisers were getting frustrated. But Facebook has made some major changes; now, almost half of the company’s advertising revenue comes in through mobile, which has helped push the company’s share price up 100 percent over the last year, to $54 a share, the NY Times blogger Jenna Wortham reports. Sterne Agee, a research firm, projects Facebook could command as much as $3 million a day in video ads, which could represent as much as 10 percent of the company’s advertising dollars in 2014, Wortham writes.
CON: That revenue has to come from somewhere: Facebook is charging around $2 million a day for the videos, which could keep many advertisers away.
And here’s a bonus CON: In a November survey conducted by the global marketing consultancy Analytic Partners, 83% of users said they “would find any kind of video that automatically plays in their [News Feeds] to be intrusive and as such would likely ignore them.” Just 17% of users said the ads would be “enticing.”