Facebook Begins Placing Autoplay Video Ads in Messenger

Facebook has started placing autoplay video ads in its standalone Messenger app.

The company first rolled out ads inside Messenger 18 months ago. Until now, Messenger has only supported static ad units.

The head of Facebook Messenger’s ad business, Stefanos Loukakos, confirmed to Recode that the ads starting rolling out to people on Monday.

Loukakos goes on to say that he’s aware of how this may adversely affect the user experience, and it hasn’t yet been determined if the ads are here to stay.

Longevity of autoplay video ads within Messenger will be determined based on changes in user behavior.

“Top priority for us is user experience. So we don’t know yet [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.“

A Facebook spokesperson supplied a similar statement to BGR:

“As we shared with advertisers at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we are now expanding the availability of video ads to Messenger. We will be rolling out video ads gradually and thoughtfully. People that use Messenger each month are our top priority and they will remain in control of their experience.”

Autoplay video ads play without sound unless manually tapped on. Even still, they could end up feeling more intrusive to Messenger users.

Presumably Facebook may decide to pull these ads if usage of the Messenger platform begins to decline.

With the amount of instant messaging apps available today, it will be interesting to see if autoplay video ads will cause users to migrate to another platform.