NOTE: The WSJ report was mostly correct. Facebook did announce more video ads today, but it’s only a test and involves one advertiser. For more, see our more recent coverage: Bring On The News Feed Commercials: Promoted Video Ads Officially Land In The Facebook Feed.
Facebook appears set to end 2013 with one of the biggest changes to its News Feed yet: video ads.
The Wall Street Journal reported early Tuesday morning that Facebook will begin showing video ads in the News Feed — on both desktop and mobile devices — on Thursday.
If it happens, it’ll be about a year since video ad rumors began to circulate. It was almost a year ago exactly that the first reports of video ads hit. They were first rumored to launch in April of this year, then subsequent rumors pegged a July 2013 launch date — neither of which ever materialized. The first video ads actually rolled out in October, but were limited to app developers promoting app installations.
Some Facebook users have reported seeing autoplay videos (not ads) in the News Feed within the last couple weeks. These videos autoplay as a user scrolls through the News Feed, but with audio disabled by default. The WSJ article doesn’t clarify if that’ll also be how video ads work.
Also not known is how long the video ads will be. Speculation since last year has been that they’ll run 15 seconds.
Digiday recently got its hands on what’s reportedly the sales deck that Facebook is using to pitch video to advertisers. The deck discusses an option called “Reach Block” for “guaranteed reach” and one called “Target Block” for “more granular targeting.” The deck also cites recent Nielsen research that suggests advertisers can reach more 18-24 year olds via Facebook than the four major US TV networks.
According to the WSJ report, Facebook is expected to announce video ads on Tuesday.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)