Facebook Is About To Launch Video Advertising

On Thursday, social network users will be treated to an exclusive trailer for ‘Divergent’

Facebook is introducing video adverts into users’ news feeds as early as Thursday, both on desktop and mobile devices.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the social network was wary of launching the long-expected service in the run up to Christmas, afraid that a sudden barrage of marketing messages would annoy consumers. There are still fears that intrusive advertising will alienate some of its user base.

Damned if you do

For a long time, Facebook had been considering video advertising as a means to improve its bottom line, but the actual launch of the service was delayed for several months as the company upgraded its infrastructure to support video streaming at scale. This came as a blow to some advertisers who had started investing in video as early as this summer.

iQonceptIt is understood that the ads will play automatically once they appear on the screen, whether a user clicks them or not. It is not clear how long the average video is going to be, however Wall Street Journal has previously suggested a duration of about 15 seconds.

Despite serious growth in online advertising, the TV advertising market is still worth more than $65 billion in the US alone.

The website started testing video ads last week, with some users having their news feeds invaded ahead of schedule. The very first ad shown on Thursday will be an exclusive trailer for the movie adaptation of a young adult novel Divergent (which sounds to us like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Last Airbender).

The exact pricing for the new service is unclear, but it is likely to be the most expensive form of advertising on the site, and become a major revenue stream for Facebook, which has always struggled with monetisation. In 2012, the company had revenues of $5.1 billion and more than $15 billion tied down  in assets, but its net income totalled just $53 million.

Late last week, Facebook also launched a “donate” button that enables its users to support one of the 18 initial charities, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Red Cross and Water.org, with just one click.

What does Facebook get out of it, other than publicity? The initiative could be seen as part of the drive to get users’ credit card details in order to let them authorise mobile payments using their social network account. The idea that could transform Facebook into player in the mobile payment sector was first reported in August.

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