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Three Ways Merchants Can Prepare for Facebook Video Ads

Social networking site Facebook announced Tuesday it will offer video ads in its news feeds after having Facebook discussed video ads in October 2013, as they suggested a couple of ways to take advantage of video in Facebook’s mobile app.

In its announcement yesterday, Facebook said it has been testing videos since September and has seen views, likes, shares and comments increase more than 10 percent. But don’t expect video ads to become available for everyone at first. “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,” the company wrote.

Early rumors in 2012 suggested Facebook video ads would launch much earlier in 2013. In a research report released on Tuesday, John Blackledge of Cowen and Company put a number on the impact on Facebook financials, writing, “our revenue build-up forecasts $1.3BN in video ad revenue in 2014, rising to $5.0BN by 2018.”

As Facebook opens its autoplay video ads to more marketers, ecommerce pros will likely consider whether or not the outlet and the ad format offer them any potential benefit. If they do, there are aspects to video that have to be considered beyond showing a picture of an item and a link to a product detail page.

Some marketers may have already given video ads a try at YouTube, the Google-owned video hosting service. SmartShoot’s Steve Young called for brevity in those ads. Thirty to sixty seconds at most looks optimal, as Young noted an “80% drop off in viewership after the 60-second mark” for video ads.

Young also makes what is probably the most relevant point for video ads – making the first five seconds count. Though his suggestion is due to how YouTube viewers can skip an ad after those initial five seconds, it makes sense for any advertiser dedicating some budget to Facebook’s new ads to draw in the viewer as soon as the ad plays.

MediaPost suggested success comes in making use of seven basic story types when making a video. Naturally, comedy is one of them. Humor appeals to people, and MediaPost noted “humorous advertising resonates with consumers more than other kinds.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.