Facebook prepares to insert video ads into users' news feeds

MUMBAI: According to media reports the social network giant Facebook plans to let marketers insert 15-second video ads directly into people's news feeds. This step needs to be taken with caution as it may not go down well with its users.

Buyers could target the age and gender of the users who'd find the ads in their feeds reports claim citing "two people familiar with the matter." Ads could sell for as much as $2.5 million a day depending on how many people watch them.

Execs appear to appreciate the possibility of a backlash: CEO Mark Zuckerberg has delayed the plan "at least twice" as he considers ways to minimise user ire over the ads, for example by offering them in high-def and ensuring that people won't see the same pitch more than three times a day. But the sales opportunity apparently is too lucrative to resist.

Advertisers likely will spend nearly $64 billion in the US this year on TV ads vs $36 billion on the web. That's why digital powers including Google, Yahoo, and AOL are gunning for TV advertising - including by staging their own NewFront sales pitches to ad buyers as they also gather for television networks' upfront presentations.

Last week Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told analysts that her company has "a massive and engaged audience around the world that brands can use to build awareness and drive sales. Every night 88 million to 100 million people are actively using Facebook during primetime TV hours in United States alone." Nielsen has been working with Facebook to come up with ratings for online videos that would be similar to TV ratings.

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