Facebook Really Wants To Be Hated, Will Launch Auto-Play Video Ads In 2013

You know how much fun it is when you’re browsing the Internet and you get to a page where a loud video starts playing while you frantically try to stop it or mute your computer? Several hundred million Facebook members should prepare themselves for this thrill when the site launches auto-play video ads next year.

According to Ad Age, by April 2013 Facebook will be offering video ads to marketers that allows them to push one of the most-hated forms of online advertising to both desktop and mobile users.

While the ads would likely be limited to 15 seconds, Ad Age’s sources say that the video spots would indeed play automatically. In a bit of a nod to the fact that we’ve never met or heard from a single person who thinks auto-play ads are a good thing (aside from the websites and marketing agencies that make money from them), it’s possible that Facebook will mute the ads by default.

And of course, what good is an auto-play ad if it doesn’t take up your screen and make it difficult to use the site without watching the video?

Writes Ad Age:

On the desktop version of Facebook, the video ads are expected to grab a user’s attention by expanding out of the news feed into webpage real estate in both the left and right columns — or rails — of the screen. Facebook is also working on a way to ensure that the video ads stand out on the mobile apps as well, though it is unclear how exactly the company will accomplish this.

Revenue-hungry websites love auto-play ads because they get credit for showing the ad regardless of whether or not the visitor wanted to watch the clip.

Given the high costs of video ads, it’s believed that these spots won’t be limited to brands that the user has liked. Instead, looks like these will be the traditional, invasive ads everyone knows and loves from other sites — and which Facebook spent years trying to distance itself from.

“The assumption is that these would be widespread campaigns,” one source tells Ad Age. “They are looking to grab big chunks of money … millions of dollars.”