Facebook Videos Now Auto-Play: Huge Opportunity for Brands

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: January 15, 2014

Facebook is officially jumping on the video bandwagon following Instagram, Vine and the like.

Until now Facebook shared a similar video-viewing model to YouTube that made watching videos a multi-click process. This format created widespread disinterest in video sharing and interaction, forcing Facebook to come up with a solution. Though their video creation tool is a bit outdated, their new approach to the overall video format is cutting edge.

With the new auto-play feature, Facebook hopes to engage its users in yet another vehicle of interaction. This new feature, formatted for mobile and desktop Facebook feeds, automatically plays video as the user scrolls through their news feed. However, unlike Instagram and Vine, Facebook’s approach mutes and maintains minimization of the video as to not disturb users who are just scrolling through. Upon finding a video of interest, the user can simply select the video and it will instantly expand, add sound and begin to play, avoiding the hassle of clicking multiple times to get to the source of the video.

Facebook Video

The motivation behind this new feature is to inspire users to use Facebook as their principle video creating and sharing outlet. Facebook hopes that this new push will encourage users to connect within the video format as a primary source of interaction. Easier video viewing allows for an increased number of video views, which brings forth more comments and likes, thus stimulating the entire Facebook community.

Another interesting aspect within the new video movement is the possible implementation of video advertisement. Facebook admits that in the future, the auto-play feature may be made available to marketers, but for now, this feature is only accessible to Facebook users.

There is a definite balancing act at hand between creating a new method of interaction, as well as using it to advertise. Facebook must be careful to tactfully introduce any video marketing while simultaneously maintaining a positive light surrounding personal video creating and sharing. Excess advertisement may easily cause disinterest in the video concept, if users feel their news feeds become polluted. However, Facebook is creating regulations such as limiting the amount of ads displayed daily, as to not overwhelm or frustrate users. This balance is crucial however, due to the reality that video advertisements could prove to be quite profitable for Facebook.

The new auto-play format creates yet another environment for social media driven companies to explore and utilize. It will be interesting to see how this new feature is implemented as a means of engaging clients, and followers. While photos remain king in the social media realm, many are interested to see how this new approach will change things. Perhaps we will see a shift in the amount of video creation and usage surpass the prevalence of photos. In this fast paced and ever-changing arena, there is always the latest and greatest advancement that redefines the user experience. It will be exciting to see the way this new feature will alter Facebook as a whole.