Facebook has been testing the autoplay format since September with some user uploaded videos and Page posts. It claims to have seen a 10% increase in people watching, liking, sharing and commenting on videos that do not require users to click to play.
The first advertiser to use the new format will be independent film studio Summit Entertainment, which is set to roll out a series of video ads on Facebook for its upcoming release Divergent.
The format works on both desktop and mobile, with videos playing as they appear on screen without sound. If a video is clicked, it will become full-screen and begin to play with sound.
At the end of the playback a carousel featuring two additional videos will appear, which Facebook says offers users an easier way to discover more content from brands.
For mobile users, only videos that have been previously downloaded in advance when the device was connected to WiFi will play automatically, mitigating the risk of video playback eating into users’ data plans.
Facebook says in a blog post: “This format isn’t intended for every video ad or Page post video on Facebook; it meets specific needs for certain marketers with certain objectives. We’ll continue to refine this new way for brands to tell stories on Facebook to ensure the best experience for people and marketers.”
The post also stresses that this is an “initial, limited test” and that Facebook will inform marketers when the product becomes more widely available.
The confirmation comes in the same week a leaked presentation deck revealed Facebook is making a direct play for marketers’ TV budgets – claiming “TV is no longer a guaranteed way to reach and engage your target audience”.
Read Marketing Week’s profile interview with Facebook’s VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn
Video: How Facebook’s autoplay video ads will appear in the News Feed