If you think the auto-play commercials on sites like ours are annoying, get ready to have it in your face times a billion: Ad Age says video ads are hitting Facebook.
The transition, which AdAge's anonymous industry sources say will begin in the first half of 2013, will stick video commercials in your browser, tablet, and phone. Annoying, right? But what could be even worse is that there's no play button:
In what's sure to be a controversial move, the visual component of the Facebook video ads will start playing automatically — a dynamic known as "autoplay" — according to two of the executives.
This means an ad for Bacardi (if you're targeted as a drinker) will show up upon your arrival at The Book and start flashing without any intervention—"Facebook is still debating whether to have the audio component of the ads activated automatically as well," says AdAge. That latter part seems unthinkable, given how universally-despised audio ads are. A total web faux pas. Unlike obscure, opaque image sub-licensing, automatically playing a cereal jingle when you go to Facebook seems like the kind of thing that actually drive people away from using Facebook. At least as regularly.
Yes, Facebook is free. And yes, ads on Facebook are only going to multiply and advance. But that doesn't mean we can't challenge auto-play video commercials with spontaneous sound as idiotic and obnoxious. But for now, this is just a rumor—keep your eyes and ears peeled. In the meantime, we've reached out to Facebook for comment. [Ad Age]