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Report: Facebook to go after TV dollars with autoplay video advertising

Facebook has immense reach and unprecedented targeting capability, but it’s been only mildly successful with online (and now mobile) advertising. But what if those strengths were applied to video? We may soon find out, as Ad Age is reporting that Facebook is planning to launch short video ads by April of next year on both desktop and mobile devices.

The ads would auto-play video in a user’s news feed — potentially a controversial move — and run as much as 15 seconds in length. They’d be capped at three plays/day per user, according to the report. Advertisers could not only target demographics, but potentially affinities (what users have liked) as well. “The assumption is that these would be widespread campaigns,” one of the industry sources told Ad Age. “They are looking to grab big chunks of money… millions of dollars.”

Both Facebook and Twitter have longed for TV-sized advertising dollars. Yesterday Twitter inked a deal with Nielsen to create a social TV “rating,” and now Facebook appears to be leveraging its TV-like reach to go after big-time ad opportunities. Meanwhile, Instagram is facing a backlash over its new terms of service, which gives it the right to include users’ photos in advertising messages.

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