While advertisers are putting pressure on Facebook to launch its auto-play video ad platform soon, the social network is holding back, reportedly due to concern for preserving the quality of user experience.

Facebook video ads Facebook: No auto play video ads for now

Facebook is a rich minefield for advertisers. The social network already knows a lot about its users — what users like, where they go to, and the brands they mention or discuss. This makes targeting ads even more effective than, say, contextual analysis based on the websites visited.

This makes action-based advertising particularly effective on Facebook, which includes asking users to Like a page, download an app or sign up for a service, for example. However, brand advertising is still big business, especially among big companies that can afford air time or billboard space — including virtual ones. Facebook, for one, has hoped to turn its entire platform into a canvas for brand advertising.

Video ads, for one, are a popular choice for advertisers, due to the audio-visual nature of this platform. While many websites have turned to automatically-playing videos, Facebook is still holding back. According to sources cited by All Things D, Facebook has been advising advertising clients not to expect auto-play videos within the year. This ad format was supposed to have launched within the first half of 2013, but has since been pushed back.

Why the delay? According to the same sources, Facebook is concerned with turning off its user base. The social network wants more time to evaluate user feedback and behavior, particularly with auto-playing but non-commercial videos playing on the platform.

Auto-playing videos just what the name says, which means the content will start streaming and playing even without user interaction. Users still have to enable audio manually, however (at least in most cases), but for some, automatically playing content might come as an intrusive form of advertising.

Still, video ads are a potentially lucrative source of business for Facebook. Financial analysts at Morgan Stanley earlier pegged the social network’s potential income from video to as much as $1 billion in 2013 alone.

Facebook has declined to comment on the development, reports the source.

Source: All Things D