Reports: Facebook Readying Autoplay Video Ads

Facebook is planning to introduce a new video ad unit next year that would run in the news feed, according to reports Tuesday.

By April, the company will begin offering autoplay video ads in both the desktop version of the social network as well as in Facebook phone and tablet apps, according to an Ad Age report, citing industry executives briefed by Facebook. A subsequent post by the blog Inside Facebook confirmed that story, citing a source with knowledge of Facebook’s plans.

Facebook itself declined to comment on the reports Tuesday. A new video ad offering in the newsfeed could prove attractive to marketers that have long clamored for more rich media and high-impact ad formats on Facebook. Inside Facebook noted that advertisers can already pay to promote videos in the news feed and sidebar by creating page post ads and certain kinds of sponsored stories.

But the autoplay feature could trigger a backlash from users still growing accustomed to text ads in their feeds. So much for native advertising. Ad Age reports that Facebook is still debating features of the unit, including whether sound would be enabled automatically and whether ads would have a 15-second cap.

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