Facebook Moves Cautiously on Launching Video Ads

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Facebook has been planning for months to launch online video ads, a lucrative market for online advertising. The holdup has come from CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who doesn’t want to annoy its 1.1 billion users.

As soon as this fall, Facebook plans to launch a video ad service that will show members 15 second or less clips on both smartphones and the Web, accoridng to people with knowledge of the project. Facebook needs the ads to be sufficiently splashy that they will convince brands to spend roughly $2 million per day to run the ads.

Yet since earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg and his engineers have been toying with how to make the ads not so distracting and slow that they alienate users, according to current and former Facebook employees. The videos will appear prominently on members’ homepage news feeds, people familiar with the project said.

One of the major issues was making video-loading fast enough for mobile phones and the Web. Facebook engineers had to work hard, recreating a majority of the backend technology.

Another major issue, is how to deliver these ads so they do not distracte members. One such question that arose is whether video ads should play automatically, and if so with or without sound. On mobile phones this is an especially important issue that engineers and marketeres discussed.

Striking that balance between member happiness and commercial opportunity has been a challenge for the young company, leading to delays and frustration among the marketers it is trying to woo. Some advertisers for instance, began creating video ads in anticipation of a Summer rollout, and had to find other means to launch the videos, after delays. Despite some grumbles, many companies are looking forward to the video ad opportunity to launch.

As to what ROI these marketers can expect, we are still waiting to see, however many people agree if Facebook can get these videos to load fast and not distracte users, video ads might be a highly-relevant medium.


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