Facebook has extended its autoplay video ads to third-party mobile applications that sell ads through the social network’s Audience Network, reports AdAge. The Audience Network is Facebook’s mobile ad network that syndicates advertisements to others’ apps based on targeting parameters.
Other ad formats being exported to its mobile ad network include carousel ads, full-screen click-to-play video spots to non Facebook apps and dynamic product ads that retailers can use to market their wares to people who had previously browsed on e-commerce sites. There is an opt out for autoplay for videos in Facebook where users can set the feature only when the device is using WiFi. More on that here.
In June, Facebook’s rival Twitter also debuted autoplay for videos, GIFs and Vines when users scrolled on their timelines. However, Twitter told advertisers that a view on Twitter is chargeable when a video is 100% in-view on the user’s device, and has been watched for at least 3 seconds.
Note that Facebook debuted autoplay videos on Instagram and Timelines in 2013, but advertisers such as Unilever pulled back their campaigns on Facebook due to lack of third party verification, as pointed out by this Wall Street Journal report. The report also notes that The Media Ratings Council and the Interactive Advertising Bureau guidelines state that an online video ad should only be deemed viewable if at least 50% of the ad is visible on a user’s screen for at least two consecutive seconds. It was reported that Facebook was testing charging advertisers on a cost-per-view basis where they paid once their ads had played for at least 10 seconds.
Autoplay video ads are a bad idea for consumers as they consume mobile data without consent and many times, are considered a nuisance while scrolling. Further, in a bid to increase video views on Facebook, advertisers may end up getting shortchanged as the video might start playing when it is only half in view and may not reach the targeted audience. Facebook counts an ad as delivered the moment it enters the screen of a desktop browser or mobile app, instead of when the ad is served. Hence the efficiency of autoplay can be questioned.