Users of social network Facebook will see 15-second long video adverts in their news feed from the summer, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The commercials will last up to 15 seconds, and the first one a user sees in their news feed each day will start automatically but will not include sound.
Activating audio will restart the video, sources close to Facebook say.
Growing budgets for video advertising on sites such as YouTube have apparently inspired Facebook to introduce its own version.
The FT reported that the move was a response to the ‘lacklustre’ listing last year, and a bid to tap in to TV advertising revenues.
Although current online video advertising spending is less than 10 per cent of TV advertising, the market is expanding rapidly. Facebook hopes that by allowing advertisers to provide highly targeted campaigns, it will prove attractive. Initial plans are said to include limiting the commercials users see to those from a single advertiser per day.
Facebook’s most prominent advertisers include American Express, Coca Cola, Ford, Diageo and Nestle, and their major brands are expected to be among the first that will use video adverts.
Facebook declined to comment on the plans, but sources say the site will proceed slowly in a bid to prevent the new videos from disrupting users and putting them off the site. Although Facebook is still gorwing overall, its growth in developed markets, where technology is most able to play video adverts, is slowing down.
The FT said it expected costs to be in the “low $20s” per thousand video views, representing a slight discount on equivalent TV advert prices.
News of the new plans has emerged as US TV networks have gone through their annual ‘Upfront’ process of selling the majority of their TV advertising. Yahoo and AOL are also among those who are expected to introduce video advertising.
User reaction online to the new plans was mixed; while some Twitter users suggested Facebook’s plan could put them off, others expressed surprise that video adverts were not already on offer.