Facebook is about to ruin Messenger with autoplaying video ads

First the autoplay ads came for our Instagram Stories, then they came for Facebook Marketplace, now they’re coming for Messenger. Yes, Facebook’s last safe harbour from autoplay video ads is about to be breached.

Facebook is about to ruin Messenger with autoplaying video ads

Messenger has had static ads for about a year and a half now, but users will soon begin seeing autoplay video ads popping up in their inbox in Messenger, right next to the conversations between you and your friends. The ad will begin autoplaying when a user swipes or scrolls over it, similar to the ads on the Facebook app.

It was always going to happen, however. Facebook has is running out of room to accommodate all its ads in the main Facebook app, meaning the company has had to branch out to other areas. In Facebook’s first-quarter 2018 earnings report, it revealed that advertising was responsible for a massive 98.6% of its revenue. That’s almost $12 billion (£9 billion).


While Facebook hasn’t released any concrete figures, Facebook’s chief financial officer said in a February earnings call that the average price per Facebook ad had increased by 43%. Video ads are sure to cost even more than the average cost of static ads, so in Facebook’s eyes, it’s a good move.

“Top priority for us is user experience,” said Stefanos Loukakos, Messenger’s ad manager, in an interview with Recode. “So we don’t yet [know if these will work] however, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”

“Video might be a bit different, but we don’t believe so.”

Autoplay video ads might be more offputting than Loukakos thinks, however. Research released by the Coalition for Better Ads involving more than 25,000 consumers revealed that autoplaying video ads were some of the worst kind of ads, ranking lowest across a range of user experience factors. If the Facebook data breach didn’t put you off using the social network, this surely will.

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