Video Ads On Facebook: 3Q? 4Q? 2014?

By David Cohen 

The next big revenue-driver for Facebook will likely be its long-rumored introduction of video ads, but the social network has made no official announcements on when that product will debut, and sources close to the situation are all over the place with their guesses on the topic.

Reports about Facebook rolling out video ads first surfaced last December, when Ad Age reported that Facebook users would start to see video ads on their desktop and mobile News Feeds by “April at the latest.”

In February, Chief Marketing Officer David Fischer said at the Future of Media Conference at Stanford University:

I believe there are ways we could do it. There are ways that could be destructive and distracting to the user experience, but there are ways that could potentially balance user experience with advertiser experience. We haven’t put a product out yet because we haven’t had one we’re comfortable with. But if we could, then we would do it.

In April, Ad Age reported that the social network was pitching four daily summer slots set to launch in June or July, aimed at women and men over 30 and under 30, respectively, in an auto-play format, limited to 15 seconds, and priced at around $1 million apiece.

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.

This week, Spruce Media CEO Rob Jewell told Business Insider:

I’ve talked to some sources who have been pitched directly from Facebook at agencies. Agencies also seem really excited about it. I think it’s because the problem with online video buying today is that there’s really no reach. You can’t get that TV-like reach online, and I think that’s what has held up those TV dollars from going online. You have to piece it together from lots of video sites with 5 million or 10 million users here and there. The size (of Facebook) is appealing to agencies.

(The first advertiser will be) one of the biggest agencies with one of the largest media buying clients. I know they were very interested, but all of the plans got pushed back a quarter. I don’t even know if it’s going to be the third quarter. I think it might be the fourth quarter.

Another source told Business Insider video ads were “pulled” and will not appear until at least 2014.

And yet another source told Business Insider Facebook sales teams are currently pitching video ads to large agencies, with positive responses.

Readers: Do you think video ads will be a successful product for Facebook, if and when they are launched?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.