Facebook announced today that it will start implementing autoplaying video ad posts from Thursday onwards, in a bid to help capture a share of the TV advertising market.
A video sharing feature was launched back in September, where shared Facebook videos by friends or page owners you follow started playing automatically, as soon as they appeared onscreen (though silently, unless you interacted with the video). Facebook claims that this feature has “seen a more than 10% increase in people watching, liking, sharing and commenting on videos” and that “it’s a better experience for people and it’s leading to increased engagement.”
The video advertisements will follow the same system as described above and Facebook will be testing “this richer storytelling format” from Thursday this week. A number of users will start seeing a short teaser video of the upcoming film ‘Divergent’ in their news feed on mobile and/or desktop although Facebook stresses that the autoplay extension to adverts is currently a limited trial.
Concerns about the ads alienating users have naturally been raised by users and industry commentators. In a report on the BBC News, an analyst from research firm IDC, Alys Woodward, thinks that Facebook is "doing it in a reasonably sensitive way but if they get this stuff wrong people may stop being active and posting new content."
To address worries of mobile users, who fear that the video ads will eat up mobile data allowances, Facebook has highlighted that the “video ads that start playing when they appear on screen are pre-downloaded when you are on Wi-Fi so they do not consume additional data.” The social networking firm also says that for users who do not intend to watch ads; they can “simply scroll past and the video will stop playing.”
'Donate Now' button
Facebook also recently announced a new 'Donate Now' button which will allow users to give money to nonprofits quickly and simply. This was feature developed as a result of Facebook's donation system, which was set up for the Red Cross last month in association to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
“After seeing the generosity of people around the world toward this effort, we’ve been inspired to help everyone donate, at any time, to the organizations they care about most,” said Facebook in a blog post.
Although the new feature only works with a few charities at the moment more charities can sign up to have the feature added to their Facebook page by simply filling out an application form. Currently supported charity sites include those shown in the logos below.