Auto-play videos are coming to Facebook. Techcrunch is reporting that Facebook has already rolled the feature out internationally on both iOS and Android and will reach most users soon. Auto-play means that when a user posts a video to their feed, it will begin playing as soon as you scroll to it. You will no longer have to press a play button.
The reason for this change is simple. Many people simply scroll past a video when they have to press a play button. Videos that auto-play get more attention. The idea is that if people start paying attention to videos, they are more likely to upload videos themselves.
In the long run, this is not about getting users to upload videos. Facebook wants to dip into the video ad pool. Once the company feels its users are comfortable with auto-play videos, they will begin to implement auto-play video ads.
The auto-playing video feature will allow users to limit it to times when they have a Wi-Fi signal. Most people use Facebook on their phones, and videos burn through bandwidth quickly for mobile users.
Bandwidth will become a big issue when Facebook implements auto-playing video ads. The company has stated its intention to limit the number of video ads users see, but they will inevitably increase the limit to raise revenue. This could ultimately turn users off as they see their bandwidth usage go up.
On top of burning up users’ bandwidth, video ads are also intrusive. Facebook rose to power partially because its predecessor, Myspace, went overboard with its ads. Facebook could be following the same path with auto-playing video ads.
There is a fine line when it comes to how much advertising internet users will tolerate. With numerous social networking options available, Facebook would be pushing their luck to force auto-playing video ads on their users. Young people are already becoming disillusioned with the site and moving towards alternatives like Snapchat. Fads come and go quickly on the internet, and Facebook risks becoming another casualty with this feature.