Citing user experience concerns, Facebook reportedly delays video ads indefinitely

It’s no secret that Facebook is planning to add auto-play video ads to the News Feed at some point. However, as the company tries to find the balance between profit and user experience, this ad product keeps getting delayed. Now it is being delayed indefinitely, according to AdAge.

The company is concerned that the user backlash would be too severe, especially if Facebook had the audio playing automatically along with the video. Facebook was hoping to launch video ads in News Feed by October, but sources told AdAge that the social network has delayed this controversial ad unit once again, not giving a target date.

[contextly_sidebar id=”33fdbe50802437e602b8ecf7ad00059c”]Because of the users’ overwhelming negative reaction to this potential feature, one advertiser told AdAge that his company is scared to be among the first group to be associated with video ads:

It seems that every new ad unit within Facebook has some level of backlash from the user base for the first month. We’re hesitant to be first in the space for that reason.

Video ads could be a financial boon for Facebook, which reportedly would bring in somewhere between $1 million and $2.4 million per spot. They would be 15-second ads would be intelligently targeted much like TV spots and Facebook has been going back and forth on deciding whether or not the audio would play automatically along with the video, but AdAge wrote that audio wouldn’t start until a user clicks on the ad, making it much more user-friendly.

As AdAge’s Cotton Delo points out, many marketers were looking forward to the October launch, as it would allow them to prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. Delo said that Facebook reps have backed off on committing to a date and are meeting internally to figure out how to keep these ads high quality.

This hesitation shows what many users have stopped believing: that Facebook does care about the user experience. When the video ads were first rumored, user backlash was strong, with many people threatening to leave the site if they ever saw one. AdBlock got to work to make sure they could filter out these kinds of ads.

While Facebook does care about the bottom line and the company does have a wide shareholder base to consider, it likely wouldn’t do something that would be so detrimental to the user experience.