InArticle Formats Are Polite, not Intrusive

Facebook is going to roll out video ads in news feeds in the coming months.  We find this especially interesting as many of its users have now shifted to visiting the site on mobile.

“Facebook is testing autoplay video ads in News Feed for the first time with the hope that big brands spending generously on TV ads will bring some of those marketing dollars to Facebook instead, ” says Re/code’s Kurt Wagner. What Wagner may not know is that Facebook first started testing autoplay video ads last Christmas, using promotions for  the movie “Divergent” as a test case.

Facebook has been known to make big mistakes regarding users’ privacy, but surely by now they must know how most people feel about auto-play ads. Especially on mobile devices, users overwhelmingly dislike them. Here’s what happened when those ads debuted last December:

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Apparently, the social network has tweaked the format since those initial reviews.

“We have to get the consumer experience right, and auto-play is obviously a big deal,” Levy toldRe/code at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Tuesday. “We want to be sure people are seeing and loving auto-play content from their friends so that when they see the commercial content it feels natural.”

We have a better idea. Our InArticle video ads appear  within articles or news feeds, but they are polite and non-intrusive. They don’t begin to play until the user mouses over them, and they don’t expand to full screen unless they are clicked.  They also have a small reminder box at the bottom  right hand side of the page, so that if you want to click when you’ve finished the article, you have another opportunity.

We’ve used these formats and gotten 25% higher completion rates than the industry benchmarks.That’s because we try to treat visitors to our publisher partners’ sites with courtesy.

Especially on mobile, marketers must balance their desire for high completion rates with the potential of video ads to turn off the audiences they’re hoping to reach. That’s why we developed our ZINC formats: we wanted to keep the consumer in mind while giving the marketer good ROI.