For a long time the idea of auto-play in-feed video ads on Facebook seemed like a terrible idea. What better way to annoy users than to have random videos playing all over the place that they have no interest in?
Well, Facebook came up with a genius solution to that problem: mute them, and then allow users to unmute the videos they wanted to see. The plan has worked like gangbusters and now the company has been seeing some very impressive numbers on video in the News Feed over the last couple of months.
From May to July, video views grew by over 50%, month-to-month, Facebook announced on Sunday. Not only that, but since June, the company has been averages over 1 billion video views on the platform every single day. Even better for Facebook is that over 65% of those views are on mobile.
In honor of those admittedly impressive numbers, Facebook is announcing a new feature to expand the ads even further: a view counter, to show how many times each video has been seen by other Facebook users.
In addition, the company also announced that is also testing a new feature on mobile that will show them additional, related videos, much like the company does now when a user clicks on an article to read.
"Video is one of the most engaging and immersive ways to tell your story. Whether capturing breaking news, a baby’s first steps, or rising to a friend’s challenge for charity, it is a remarkable storytelling medium," Fidji Simo, Product Management Director of Video at Facebook wrote.
"Video uploaded directly to Facebook is an increasingly important part of News Feed, and more people than ever before are sharing, discovering, and engaging with videos that they care about."
Facebook's video ads had been a topic of discussion for a long time before, after much delay, Facebook finally launched them earlier this year. Each ad is 15 seconds long, and will begin playing without sound, as to not become intrusive. They will stop if the user scrolls past, but if they click on the video it will expand into full screen and play with sound.
LiveRail helps companies, including Major League Baseball, ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion, to serve better ads in the videos that appear on their websites and apps. It also provides increased targeting capabilities. The company delivers over 7 billion video ads each month.
So why is Facebook so keen on video ads? Because that is where the money's at. According to a report out from Business Insider in July, video ad revenue is set to grow faster than any other medium, save for mobile. They will reach nearly $5 billion in 2016, nearly doubling from $2.8 billion in 2013
Facebook took a long time, and was very careful with video ads. Now it looks like it is paying off big time.