If you already hate sponsored ads plugging up your Facebook news feed, just wait until you see what could be coming in the next few weeks. Facebook is preparing to introduce video ads as early as June or July, according to AdAge. Here's the real kicker: The report claims those ads will start auto-playing the second they hit your news feed.
Facebook is allegedly planning to unleash the new ads on the desktop first. Auto-play videos would be less welcome on smartphones and tablets, where they could eat into monthly data limits imposed by your carrier.
Facebook declined to comment on its reported plans for video ads when contacted by TechHive.
Rumors of Facebook video ads have been swirling for several months. (AdAge itself reported a similar story in December, although it said the ads would arrive no later than April.) The social network also worked with Samsung in late 2012 on a special video ad campaign for the Galaxy SIII handset, according to The Wall Street Journal. Video commercials can also show up in your news feed organically if, say, a Facebook friend likes a video commercial for Ford cars on the company's brand page.
Facebook thinks it can charge up to $1 million per day for each spot, AdAge reports. Facebook's ad pricing, if accurate, would be about half of what 15 seconds of air time cost during the Super Bowl earlier this year. For the NFL's big game in February, 30-second ad spots were going for $3.8 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Take over, tune in
To justify that price tag, the video spots would reportedly take up a big chunk of your screen, similar to so-called online takeover ads that dominate your display when you mouse over them. Fortunately, the ads would be capped at three per day. It's not clear if you would have the chance to stop viewing the ads the way you can on YouTube or if you'd have to endure them in their entirety, similar to commercials on Hulu.
Video ads coming to Facebook feels somewhat inevitable. Now that the company has public investors, it has to satisfy their need for growing profits with new and innovative revenue streams. For Facebook, new revenue largely means new advertising, just as it does with Google.
But Facebook fans are already grumbling about the ads showing up in their news feeds, and auto-play takeover ads are already widely despised online. Then again, some ads may be worth tolerating in takeover style. Summer movie ad spots could be a popular choice, and Super Bowl-style ads with high production values could also win over fans. But if you have to endure daily doses of run of the mill deodorant and cereal ads, then Facebook could easily become one of the least desirable places to visit online--if this rumor proves accurate, that is.