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Facebook ready to roll video ads in users' feeds

After several delays, the social network will start testing video ads that auto-play in News Feed on Thursday.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

Facebook plans to finally begin running video ads that will appear in users' News Feeds, the social network confirmed early Tuesday morning.

The new ads will automatically appear on both Web and mobile feeds, people familiar with the matter initially told the Wall Street Journal, which was first to report on the pending ads, and Facebook later confirmed.

In a press release, Facebook referred to the long-anticipated launch as just a test. The company said that starting Thursday only a small number of people will see video ads. The first ad will come from launch partner Summit Entertainment, which will be promoting its "Divergent" movie. The ad will begin playing as it appears in News Feed, Facebook said.

The social network has long been rumored to be shopping around a high-priced ad unit that marketers could use to run 15-second commercial-like advertisements in News Feed. Originally expected to be unveiled this past summer, the video ads were pushed back to an October debut, which was also postponed, reportedly out of concerns over disrupting the user experience.

The advertisements, which might cost anywhere between $1 million and $2.4 million for a day-long run depending on reach, would auto-play without sound when users scroll over them, earlier reports suggested.

While some advertisers had hoped the ads would be available for the holiday shopping season, some of the potential advertisers were reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach out of fear of being caught up in a potential user backlash.

Some Facebook users reported seeing the video ads playing in their News Feeds last week as the social network performed tests.

Update, December 17 at 9:10 a.m. PT: Facebook announced early Tuesday that it will begin testing video ads that auto-play in News Feed.