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Facebook to debut auto-play video ads in 2013

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Facebook users have a new form of advertising to look forward to in 2013, when the social network will begin inserting full-motion video ads into their news feeds.

According to a report by Ad Age, Zuck & Co are so hell-bent on pulling in big bucks from TV admen that they plan to debut the dubious new feature no later than April of next year, though sources say they haven't yet figured out all the details.

Typical TV ads run about 30 seconds, but Facebook is reportedly considering capping the length of its video ads at 15 seconds.

In a move that's certain to anger many users, however, sources say the company definitely plans to have the video component of the ads start playing automatically, and possibly the audio, as well.

Smartphone users with bandwidth-capped data service are likely to be particularly annoyed by this, given that Facebook plans to roll out the video ads to both the browser-based version of its service and its mobile apps. In fact, sources say Zuck's sales team has gone out of their way to demo the ads on mobiles and tablets in their meetings with ad agencies.

It's not immediately clear how Facebook plans to allow advertisers to target their video ads, including whether the ads will only be shown to a company's fans or to the mass Facebook audience at large. The company declined to respond to El Reg's requests for clarification.

Facebook reportedly will place some limits on the number of video ads users will see, however. Each advertiser will only be able to show the same ad to a single user a maximum of three times per day, though it's not known whether there will be a cap on the total number of videos a user will be forced to watch.

What also hasn't been disclosed is how much Facebook plans to charge for the new ad spots. It's safe to say they won't be cheap. Video advertising on the web is typically more expensive than other forms, and few sites offer as great a value proposition to advertisers than Facebook, with an audience to rival TV networks.

"The assumption is that these would be widespread campaigns," one advertising executive told Ad Age. "They are looking to grab big chunks of money ... millions of dollars." ®

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