Facebook Rolls Out Video Ads to Compete with TV and YouTube

Facebook has begun selling video advertisements, which will appear in users’ timelines starting on Thursday. The ads will play automatically in news feeds on both the Web and via smartphones, although Facebook says that will only happen on phones connected to Wi-Fi so as not to eat up users’ data. One of the very first ads is a short teaser for the upcoming film “Divergent,” and Facebook’s hope is that it will beat TV’s reach and YouTube’s targeting.

According to The Wall Street Journal, it isn’t yet clear how much video advertising will cost, but back in August, Facebook executives told WSJ it planned to charge $2 million a day to reach all users between the ages of 18 and 54.

“We expect video to be more expensive,” Dan Slagen, senior VP of marketing for digital-marketing software company Nanigans, told WSJ. “But we’re going to see advertisers willing to pay.”

A leaked Facebook document obtained by TechCrunch outlines the video ad pitch to Preferred Marketing Developer partners, which reveals three key things:

1. You want to be where people are. Changing consumer behavior should shape where you spend your marketing dollars.
2. You want to reach all of the people who matter to you. Facebook has unparalleled targeted reach.
3. You want to be in the most engaging digital real estate, which, as you just saw, is Facebook’s News Feed.

“The delayed rollout could prove profitable for Facebook because this time of year advertisers can have excess money to spend,” says WSJ. “Traditionally, Facebook hasn’t been a go-to place for that money and video ads will make it a more attractive destination, advertising industry experts said.”