Video ads are this new thing that everyone’s been talking about lately. Video ads on Facebook that is.

Facebook is expected to introduce these new advertising opportunities at any day now.

The only downside though, is that you won’t be able to try it out unless you have a budget of $1 million or more to spare per day (no typo, that’s $1 million for a day of advertising). And Facebook goes even further pitching various agency execs on the video product and asking for commitments of even over $2 million.

The Details

As always, to be sure, we have to wait and see for ourselves, but here are the expected features likely to be found in Facebook’s new advertising product:

  • The ads will be very similar to classic TV-like commercials.
  • Each ad will be 15 seconds long.
  • They will be placed inside the News Feed.
  • Minimal budget of $1 million per day.
  • Per day will be the only advertising model initially.
  • Every user from the target group will see each ad a maximum of three times.
  • Limited targeting – based on age and gender.
  • Auto-play feature.

Let’s discuss some of the above individually.

Ins and Outs of the Auto-Play Feature

This is by far the biggest news in the whole video ads story. It’s been confirmed that every ad will be set on auto-play. Which is a massive decision and will make the ads much more intrusive than the standard text ads today.

Now, although the video will start playing automatically as soon as the user scrolls to see it, the audio will be muted. Then after clicking the video, the ad will continue playing with the audio enabled.

Auto-play is believed to remain disabled on the standard web version of Facebook available on desktops. At first, this will be a mobile- and app-only feature.

Huge Budgets and Limited Targeting

If you’re an affiliate who just wants to test the video ads and see what value they can bring, we don’t have good news for you; it simply won’t be possible due to the massive budget required to even get started.

Moreover, the limited targeting feature means that it will be virtually impossible to target the right demographic with your ads. Targeting based on age and gender is not nearly as precise as every affiliate requires.

In the future, we can expect the video ad functionality to be brought to smaller advertisers as well, but for now, we just have to stand still.

The correct way to use video ads later down the road – when there are more customization possibilities – would be very similar to using Promoted Posts and standard advertising. This means meticulous targeting and picking small user groups that will see ads designed specifically for them.

It’s Basically TV Ads on Facebook

When we look at it…only 15 seconds per ad, minimal targeting, and huge budgets required to get started means that the new video ad feature on Facebook is basically a form of TV advertising that’s been brought to the web. Nothing else.

At this stage, it’s hard to see smaller advertisers getting excited about this. But for brands like Coca Cola or Samsung that can afford this style of advertising, this may indeed be a great opportunity to reach new audiences worldwide.

Finally, the form of video ads itself that Facebook proposes raises some eyebrows. Many users already hate the standard ads that appear on the side, as well as the Promoted Posts, so it’s very difficult to predict what their reaction might be to video ads in their News Feeds put on auto-play…

The next months will give us an answer on how effective this thing can be and what the true opportunities are for affiliates.

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