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Facebook video auto-playback - the future of advertizing?

Kris Carlon (translation)
8

Facebook has started a trial period for a new video feature on its mobile app. Videos uploaded by users in the News Feed will now be played automatically. On one hand, this could perhaps be a very nice feature, but on the other hand, it could soon become clear what the likely motivation behind this maneuver really is: advertizing that moves.

facebook page
News Feed videos will play independently. One click makes them larger and adds sound. / © Facebook

To date, if a video appears in your News Feed, it would only be played if you clicked on it. That is all about to change. Facebook has been remarkably active for a while now - some would say intrusive - in its efforts to draw users into the more varied content of the social network. The recently launched testing in the U.S. is just another proof of that desire for diversification. Remember also that Facebook-owned Instagram also launched video recently too, and that company is now preparing to include advertising in its service in the near future.

Videos that have been uploaded by users onto their profiles or that have been automatically shared by apps like Instagram should appear in silent mode as soon as they appear in the News Feed. To see it with sound, you must click on the video. By giving you silent content first, users will be more likely to engage with video content because they must first click on the video to get sound, so commenting or "Like"ing will be that much easier to encourage as the user has already broken the ''participation'' barrier. There are already positive voices being heard from those who are part of this test run (a small percentage of American Android and iOS users). Silent videos on the News Feed avoids interruption when quickly browsing, but once you've clicked, you're hooked.

However there are obvious downsides: your data usage volume will probably increase if videos load automatically (even if they are disabled immediately once they disappear from the screen). And there seems to me to be another important aspect here.

ads screenshot
This is what advertising in the News Feed currently looks like. / © AndroidPIT

You don't need to be a visionary to imagine what is behind this new technical development from Facebook's perspective. The auto-play feature would enable the inclusion of video advertizing that does not yet exist in this form on Facebook. There has been speculation about the planning of this for some time though. Advertizing text blocks already appear in the News Feed, but these are, at least in my opinion, far less intrusive than video advertising. That could now change very quickly, but this development should not surprise anyone. Advertizing, whether directly or indirectly, through trade with the collected user data, is the main business model of Facebook. These days it sometimes seems that this has become the sole raison d'être of the social network.

So will we soon be seeing video advertizing in our News Feeds? I can’t yet say for sure. On the other hand, I can not prove that tomorrow the sun will also rise, but I'm pretty sure that's on the horizon. So until things are confirmed, we'll just have to wait and see if my prediction is correct.

What do you think of this test phase and the motivations that are probably behind him?

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Comments

Write new comment:
  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Sep 13, 2013 Link

    now I have a reason more not to install FB app nice...
    first the permissions and now a hugely increased traffic, not with me and my already low 200MB highspeed traffic

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  • Glostermeteor Sep 13, 2013 Link

    If there is one thing that would stop me usong facebook that would be it. Dont they realise that most people have limited data plans?

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  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Sep 13, 2013 Link

    that's the same I think. they only ppl to get unlimited data plans here in germany are most probably ppl with a business plan which for starters need to person to have/be in a business and secondly, costs a horrible amount of money...

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  • Sterling Keys Sep 13, 2013 Link

    Oh hell no. Is there AdBlock for Android and iOS?

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  • Bernie Popoca Sep 13, 2013 Link

    There's an adblocker app for android, but your device has to be rooted.

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  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Sep 13, 2013 Link

    for android yes, woth root, without root it's WLAN Only, and for iOS? I dont know...

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  • User picture
    Admin
    Kris Carlon Sep 18, 2013 Link

    I'm a big fan of not using the Facebook app, for various reasons. In fact, I don't use any Facebook-content app or messenger because the permissions for all of them are too sketchy for my tastes. I figure it won't kill me to have one social network accessed on my smartphone's browser only.

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  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Sep 19, 2013 Link

    I usually use VNC to use my PC to connect to facebook, coz this is the only really stable way of having internet even after the slowdown. it works, it is stable and has not so bad drawbacks...

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