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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : March 23, 2015

Is auto-playing on Facebook good, bad for brands?

Over the past few weeks more and more consumers have seen videos begin to auto-play on Facebook's newsfeed. While this trend isn't intrinsically bad, it can also not be the best idea. Here's why:

by Kristina Knight

"Facebook's ability to autoplay videos is a double-edged sword for advertisers. On the one hand, autoplay video helps grab consumer attention, increasing the likelihood that an advertiser's video will be seen. On the other hand, autoplay videos have a chance to turn people off due to its potentially annoying interference," said Matthew Russo, Lead Educator at The Mobile Majority

While most brands are likely focused on the 'turn off' factor, there is another gray area: that of payment methods. Should publishers charge advertisers if a consumer 'see' an ad while scrolling through? Or only if that user clicks onto the ad? Currently most publishers and advertisers adhere to the 50%/1 second definition - if an ad is 50% in view for more than 1 second, it's a charge. Facebook, however, says they won't adhere to that standard.

"These standards (it seems) are designed around desktop above/below the fold ads. In desktop, one of the bigger problems is advertisers charging for ads that render below the fold and are never seen. You can see how these standards specifically address that issue," said Marcos Escalante, Head of Product, The Mobile Majority. "Facebook ads are feed based/scrolling table based. They have the scenario where you can quickly scroll past an ad (<1sec). They contend that this has some impact, and should be billable, and therefore cannot support the MRC/IAB definitions."

There is no easy answer to the question of whether auto-play on Facebook is good or bad; brands will have to decide for themselves how much emphasis to put on video content and whether or not Facebook is the right place to share it.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Facebook advertising, mobile marketing, mobile trends, social marketing, social trends, The Mobile Majority

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