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Video Ads Coming to Facebook in 2013

A new Ad Age report says Facebook is set to unveil auto-play video ads on the site in the first half of next year. The company is reportedly still debating several product features, but executives who have been briefed on the company’s plans say the new ads will be implemented by April. The ads will allow video advertisers to target ads to a large number of Facebook users in their news feeds on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook.

Facebook is already facing criticism over its decision to allow auto-play ads — ads that allow the video component to start playing automatically. The company is still debating whether to have the audio component of the ads activate automatically as well. The auto-play function on video ads is often lambasted as intrusive. It is also viewed as a potential source of fraud in the video ad market. Auto-play ads typically count toward a view, even if someone isn’t watching them.

The executives interviewed by Ad Age view the new product as an attempt on Facebook’s part to attract dollars from television advertisers. Integrating video ads into Facebook will greatly increase property available for TV-like inventory on the web. Video ad space is currently scarce, which allows sites like Hulu to maintain very high advertising rates. According to Ad Age, the social media giant is leaning toward capping the length of the videos to 15 seconds. Advertisers will reportedly be able to display the same video ad to a Facebook user up to three times a day across multiple devices.

Facebook has yet to comment publicly about the video-ad plans. An official statement is expected in the next few months.