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Are video ads good for Facebook?

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: What’s your reaction to the news that Facebook is preparing to offer 15-second video ads on its network?

  • Hate it: 60.26%
  • Don’t care: 21.79%
  • Not sure: 10.58%
  • Love it: 7.37%

Most SmartBrief on Social Media readers seem to hate the idea of unprompted video ads coming to Facebook. Reports hold that the ads will be muted by default, but will begin playing without users interaction. I think the decision to mute the ads is a smart one — nothing is more annoying that loading a page and being automatically bombarded with audio from a video ad you have to scroll to see or, more likely, turn off.

I suspect that readers dismay has less to do with the fact that the ads will use video, than with the prospect of yet more ads invading the Facebook experience. Ads used to be a very small part of the Facebook experience, but over the years they’ve taken over a larger and larger amount of real estate on the network. It’s clear that we’ll never get a clean, minimalist Facebook back again. But every time a new ad feature is added, the service becomes a little less pleasant to use. The promise of social network advertising was supposed to be quality over quantity — a smaller number of more relevant ads that we’d actually welcome into the experience. The targeting remains dodgy, however, so ads have become a steadily more prominent part of the experience.

Of course, it’s possible that these video ads will take the place of some of the other ads currently on the network and that they won’t be so dense as to be overly distracting. But I think it’s clear that Facebook is nearing it’s ad saturation point and needs to find ways to bring more refinement, not volume, to the social advertising world.