Commentary

The Real Fear Consumers Won't 'Like' Facebook Video Ads as Much as Investors and Advertisers Think They Will

The genius of Facebook is that it was made to elicit a response.  You don’t visit just to see which friends of yours did what. Invariably, and predictably, you respond too, in a setting that at least once upon a time seemed kind of intimate. These were “friends” you “like.”  

It’s like the telephone. Way back, people didn’t get one just to see how many times it rang. 

So news, reported constantly, about Facebook’s test with a new tool that will automatically play video clips—but without sound—on users’ News Feed sounds, at first, like a good idea. As Facebook explained it, videos your friends send will start automatically, and without sound. If you want audio, you can add it in.

But not too far down the pike, these automatic videos—a very small handful of them—will be advertising videos, and they won’t be coming from your friends, unless you are friends with, say, Tom Toothpaste, Ron McDonald or Wendy Hamburger. Then maybe.

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The idea of offering video advertising, you can be sure, didn’t happen after somebody at Facebook realized they could make the user experience better with friends’ Facebook videos. But because Facebook is taking a long time to roll it out, you have to wonder if it isn’t having significant second thoughts.

Facebook users still have a sense of intimacy with Facebook, despite lots of reasons they shouldn’t. When ads come in to the picture in big, fat obvious ways, the fallout—you’d think—could be major. On the other hand, can a whole Facebook community move? Not easily. 

But Facebook knows it has an audience of 1.2 billion people to sell. For advertisers, it sounds great. Facebook only intends to sell a very small handful of videos in a day, each to the same advertiser. It seems pretty sure it shouldn't inundate users, many of whom come and go throughout the day. They won’t stand for an advertisement everytime they  vidiy, and Facebook seems to know that. What Facebook may not know is whether, at the end of their experiment with this idea, if people will “like” Facebook quite as much as they evidently do now. I have my doubts.

pj@mediapost.com

1 comment about "The Real Fear Consumers Won't 'Like' Facebook Video Ads as Much as Investors and Advertisers Think They Will ".
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  1. L Stevens from LMMS, September 20, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.

    Why this is not so great and another reason to visit FB even less: I live in what is considered a great area of Seattle. But for all its' technological prowess, ISP choices and quality of service are lacking. Only Comcast, CenturyLink or Verizon. We tried all 3. All had issues. (Slow/ not cheap.) We settled on Verizon 4G - the premium package. But it came with a 10G max limit ea month, so streaming any kind of video ate up our monthly allotment and soon we were paying massive upcharges. A job at the time got me a second device - exact same one and plan (I worked in online video advertising.) It came with the same limit. Bc my job was ONLY video advertising, I soon got letters from my employer about exceeding the limits too. Mind you we never watched one streamed show or movie in our HH the entire time we had a contract with Verizon. This was ALL video advertising (work one), and husband was a music-fanatic (home device) with the auto-play functions on hundreds of ads every month for the myriad of sites we visited sucking up our allowance on each device.

    The more 'uninitiated play' folks are subject to - the more they are blocked from content they might choose to watch- and even pay for bc of limiting contracts with their less-than ideal ISP situations. Ours prevented us from converting to NetFlix' streaming services as we had hoped to do, and slowed our personal adoption of online video in general. Something few marketers consider...

    Start mandating telco companies expand on the poor options consumers have for streaming. We spent 8 months in Europe and were shocked how much more progressive their online video infrastructure/ capacity/ and options are... The US is not a leader in this field. Maybe the advertising side - certainly not infrastructure.

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