The auto-playing video ads Facebook introduced a while back could make the social network $3.8 billion by 2017, a Nomura analyst recently forecast. So just how good is the new format, and what challenges remain?

Ben Winkler, chief digital officer of ad agency OMD USA, says the ads were bound to be successful, given Facebook’s scale – but that’s not the full story.

“They got really lucky, though, in that, just as they were thinking about putting video advertising on there, the ice bucket challenge came,” Winkler tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “The timing couldn’t have been any better. Suddenly, everyone’s getting used to see auto-playing video in their streams.”

The organisation behind the challenge recently received two Cannes Lions awards for the campaign – and Winkler says: “Our clients have an insatiable appetite for video. As broadcast shrinks, they have to find that video somewhere. Nothing has replaced sight, sound and motion.”

But he says some barriers remain in the way of Facebook video advertising glory:

  1. “Making sure we can combine video with the kind of targeting capabilities that Facebook provides.”
  2. “You can’t control the context in which video appears on Facebook – it’s always in stream. We have to be careful… one bad content adjacency can scuttle an entire campaign.”


This interview is part of a series of videos leading up to the DMEXCO conference in Cologne. The series is presented by 4C + Teletrax.