3Q EARNINGS CALL: When Will Facebook Finally Debut Video Ads?

By David Cohen 

VideoSocialMarketingTabletThe subject of Facebook’s long-rumored and perpetually delayed launch of video ads was raised during the social network’s third-quarter earnings call Wednesday, and the timetable remains up in the air.

In response to a question from JPMorgan Analyst Douglas Anmuth, Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

The experience with Video on Instagram has been very positive so far, right? I think that we proved that having a quick-start auto-play can be a good experience inline in the feed, and that people really feel like they are in control of the experience.

This is an important launch for Facebook overall, because the addition of video content to the stream could be one of the most positive things that we have done in a long time for making it more engaging, but if we do it poorly, then it could also be a negative thing. We are trying to take our time to make sure that we do this in a very positive way, and I am pretty confident that we will. But that’s why you are seeing us take the process that we have on this.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg chimed in:

Now I will add on videos ads: We do have a video ad product today, because anyone can embed a video in page post. And we are actually seeing very good results, particularly around entertainment and media. This is driving some of our ad spend. And the area remains pretty exciting because this is a very compelling way for marketers to tell their story.

It was first reported last December that Facebook would launch video ads, with Ad Age saying at the time that they would debut this past April.

In April, Ad Age pegged the launch date as June or July, and then in June, Ad Age reported that the project was on hold until “at least mid-October,” with sources telling the magazine more development was needed on new features Facebook planned to release simultaneously with video ads.

In July, Business Insider shared conflicting predictions, with Spruce Media CEO Rob Jewell pointing to the fourth quarter, while another source said video ads were tabled until at least 2014.

Yet another delay was reported in September, as Ad Age said the social network pulled the plug on its previously slated October debut and did not specify a new timetable.

Later in September, Justin Shaffer, a project manager who had been helping to lead the video ads initiative, left the company.

Readers: When do you think we will finally see Facebook video ads?

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