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Instagram Tests Full-Screen, Auto-Play Video Ads

In the coming weeks, Instagram users can expect to start seeing full-screen, “sound-on,” auto-play ads in Stories.

“We are unveiling an initial test of immersive, full-screen ads in Stories with targeting, reach and measurement capabilities,” a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The Facebook unit plans to test the ads with around 30 brands, including Airbnb, Capital One, Buick, Maybelline New York, Nike,  Netflix and Qantas.

Among other efforts, Airbnb is hoping the ads will help build buzz around its new Trips on Airbnb product. With a series of 15-second videos, the lodging giant plans to show how it facilitates unique experiences. Using broad targeting of men and women in the U.S. ages 25 to 54, Airbnb hopes to gain awareness by using Instagram’s new format.

With its new ad product, Instagram is riding the success of Stories, which launched in August.

Now more than 150 million Instagrammers use Stories on a daily basis, according to internal figures. Signaling strong engagement, one in five stories on Instagram generate a direct message from viewers. Also of note, one third of the most-viewed stories are from businesses, according to Instagram. In order to further appeal to advertisers, Instagram is rolling out “stories insights” in Business Tools.

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Instagram recently added live video to Stories. Taking a page from Snapchat, the videos "disappear" after they have been streamed.

Of course video means the world to Facebook. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a recent earnings call: “We’re putting video first.”

Worldwide, revenue from mobile video will reach $25 billion by 2021, eMarketer recently projected.

This column was previously published in MoBlog on January 11, 2017.

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