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by Gillian
on November 18, 2013

Advertising on Facebook has already become a priority for many companies, with the site's quarterly ad revenue topping $1 billion. It's no surprise that so many advertisers have chosen to spend their ad dollars on the social network, due to its colossal reach, but soon big spenders will have a new way to reach Facebook's massive audience and get them to use engaging content: including video ads.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced their trial roll out of video ads that will appear in user timelines. The ads will appear on both the desktop and mobile versions of the site. The videos will start playing, without sounds, as soon as a user scrolls past. When a user engages with the ad (e.g., clicks on it), the video will become full screen and sound will start.

For now, only a small portion of users will see the ads and the only ads running will be for Summit Entertainment film Divergent, starring Kate Winslet. Over the coming months, the ads will expand to more Facebook users and more advertisers.

This news is certainly important for any advertiser looking to gain more attention or spend more of their advertising budget in social media. Although the set up of this new ad type may sound intrusive to some loyal Facebook users, Facebook has said they are using the particular design they chose because users view, like, share, and comment on videos more readily if they being to play immediately.

While there are, of course, no statistics on the engagement these ads will generate just yet, we can speculate on their impact. We already know that Facebook posts and ads with compelling images are much more likely to gain traction with an audience than those that are simply text. The addition of video is therefore likely to be an even bigger draw.

Of course, creating compelling video content means considerably more overhead than still images, from creating the content and ideas themselves to execution, equipment and new personnel with skills like video editing or even acting. While some of these resources may be available for those that have a presence on YouTube, other advertisers might need to spend the time collecting the right team and equipment.

It will likely be some time before the average social media advertiser is able to jump into the fray, but hopefully by then there will be data to justify investing in Facebook video ads. For now, Facebook advertisers should be cognizant of the fact they must compete with video ad content and be sure their Facebook ads are more compelling and eye-catching than ever. That means attractive images, compelling calls to action, and measurable engagement goals.

What do you think of this announcement? Will you make the jump into video ads?

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