Financial News

  • 18 December 2013, 9:44

Facebook Tests Auto-Play Video Adverts

Facebook is conducting trials of video advertisements with a view to boosting revenue, but the move risks alienating some users of the social network.

This week a number of people will see video ads for the new film 'Divergent' on their news feeds.

The auto-play adverts will not have any sound unless clicked on by users, and people can scroll past if they are not interested.

In a step aimed at off-setting criticism that the content will eat up data allowances, ads on mobile devices will have been downloaded in advance when the device was connected to wi-fi.

"This content will not consume data plans, even if you're not connected to wi-fi at the time of playback," Facebook said.

The California-based company has stressed that the move, which has been rumoured for months, is still in the testing phase, and that it is not currently selling video advertisements.

Analysts have forecast that  the introduction of video adverts could add more than £300m to the company's revenue next year, rising to £600m by 2016.

Facebook shares rose in response to the announcement.

The firm said this was an initial, limited test.

"We'll continue to refine this new way for brands to tell stories on Facebook to ensure the best experience for people and marketers," it said on its website.

Video ads had been due to be tested in the summer but Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, delayed their introduction partly because of fears of how such adverts would go down with users.

On Twitter, some people were already informing users how to block "annoying" auto-play video ads, while others threatened to quit the social network.

But the company stressed: "If you don't want to watch the video, you can simply scroll or swipe past it."

It added: "Videos will not play with sound unless you turn the sound on."

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