Screen Shot 2013 12 17 at 12.58.52 PM Facebook Video Ads

Facebook is testing a new ad format – video ads that play without sound or prompting. They will play as soon as they appear onscreen, although the sound will be muted (until the viewer chooses to turn it on). The video will also play fullscreen if chosen to to so.

The new ads will play in the News Feed, and will continue to play silently as you scroll by them. For mobile users, the video will be downloaded behind the scenes, so that users’ data plans are not impacted by the extra data video commercials need in order to display properly.

By its very nature, video has a higher conversion rate than just picture or text ads, so it will be interesting to see how effective this new ad product is for advertisers.

“Video ads were the fastest-growing category of online advertising in 2012, with U.S. ad spend increasing 46 percent to $2.9 billion. While that’s still a far cry from traditional TV ad budgets, marketers and brands continue to move aggressively into the online video space. Expect even more of this growth in the coming year as audience insights become more sophisticated and financial returns more apparent.” – Bismark Lepe, Ooyala

Meanwhile, customized video ads are making a large impact on the web overall. Video technology company Eyeview provides personalized videos. As an example, the video ad will be localized to reflect the city or neighborhood it is seen in. In studies by the company, consumers who watch personalized video ads have a 73% higher chance of recommending the product or service, and a 37% increase in the likelihood the customer would visit the business again.