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Facebook video ads are coming to your News Feed — it's just a matter of when.
AdAge reported in mid-December that Facebook was planning to introduce a new ad product "by April at the latest" that would let marketers target video ads in users' News Feeds on desktop and mobile devices.
According to that report, the ads would max out at 15 seconds and start playing automatically in the feed.
Rory Maher, an analyst with Hillside Partners, said last month that Facebook was "beta testing a video ad product," which could be released in the first half of this year. And Facebook's top ad exec David Fischer confirmed in a recent interview that the company was "certainly looking" at the option of introducing video ad units.
Facebook took a big step this week toward paving the way for video ads with the redesign of News Feed. The overhauled look places much more emphasis on visual content. Marketers we spoke with believe it will give them more room to create richer and larger ad units, including videos.
If your first reaction to the idea of seeing video ads appear in your News Feed is to start typing another F-word besides Facebook, you're probably not alone.
"Facebook knows that they can't alienate users and continue to grow at the rate they are. That's why we've seen them be cautious in rolling out monetization products," said Clark Fredricksen, an analyst with eMarketer. "It's my guess that we'll see something similar here."
So can Facebook place video ads in News Feed without angering or alienating its users? The short answer is that Facebook does some version of this already. Brands and marketers have the option to post videos to the social network, which they can pay to promote as an ad. These are not preroll ads or auto-playing ads, or even the kind of pop-out ads you see on other websites — but they are video ads nonetheless.