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Facebook rolls out video ads that play automatically (+video)

Facebook tests out video ads. And forget trying to hide. 

By Matthew Shaer / December 17, 2013

Facebook will soon roll video ads into its News Feed.

Reuters

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The age of the Facebook video advertisement is upon us. 

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Beginning this month, Facebook announced today, users will see a range of advertisements in their news feed, starting with spots for Divergent, a sci-fi flick set for release in 2014. The videos will play as soon as they appear on screen, albeit without sound – to disable a clip, you must navigate elsewhere in the feed. (Instagram's mobile app uses the same kind of setting on its user-created videos.) 

"Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time – with high-quality sight, sound and motion," Facebook reps wrote in a press release today. "This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed." 

So what kind of rate will Facebook be charging for these video advertisements? Well, there's no official word from Menlo Park HQ, but the Wall Street Journal, which has spoken to Facebook executives, estimated that the price could run into the millions of dollars for a single-day spot. 

"We expect video to be more expensive," Dan Slagen, senior vice president of marketing for digital-marketing company Nanigans, told a reporter for the Journal. "But we're going to see advertisers willing to pay." 

Of course they will. These are advertisements, to put it bluntly, that we won't be able to run from – they'll pop up front and center in our display, alongside wedding photos and political rants. 

Moreover, as a value proposition, there can be very few video ad platforms as enticing to advertisers as Facebook, which has upward of a billion users, and an outsized presence in the prized 18 to 24-year-old demographic. 

The move into video ads, writes Aaron Souppouris of The Verge, "is likely to be met with some resistance from some users, who are notoriously precious about any changes to the Facebook experience. Nonetheless, it's seen by investors and financial publications as a vital component of Facebook's long-term plans to turn a profit from its 1.1 billion members." 

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