Facebook recently introduced another update to both their desktop and mobile sites. This update allows Facebook videos to autoplay within the news feed. Now when you scroll through your news feed, whether on your computer or mobile device, videos will start playing instantly as you come across them.

To quickly summarize the features of autoplay videos, here are some key points:

  • Facebook videos autoplay. This means only videos uploaded directly to Facebook will play automatically in the news feed. Other videos – from YouTube or shared links, for example – will not play automatically in the news feed. One exception is Instagram videos, which will also autoplay within the news feed.
  • Autoplay begins when you scroll to the video and will play through the duration of the video.
  • Videos do not loop on autoplay.
  • Once a video has been played automatically, it will not play again until the “play” button is activated by the viewer.
  • Videos on autoplay are automatically muted. To hear the audio component of the video, click on the video to view in full screen.

There has been mixed reaction to this new feature and numerous people have both complained about and celebrated the news.

Of course, one major concern is for people in a public setting or at work when videos begin playing automatically. However, without sound, many concerns in this respect are minimized. And if you scroll past the video at any point, the video will stop playing.

I will admit that, at first, I was skeptical of the new autoplay feature. However, it’s growing on me more and more. Aren’t we all a little resistant to change – especially when it comes to Facebook? I have to admit that I’ve watched a lot more videos than I usually do since the introduction of this feature.

But there really are some practical applications for businesses to consider when using this new feature in their Facebook marketing.

First of all, this is a great way to get yourself in front of your audience. If your videos are attractive and compelling, you increase the opportunity of viewers stopping to view and interact with your content. With all the recent changes to Facebook reach, autoplay videos may be a good way to boost engagement organically.

Find creative ways to really connect with your audience. Share videos of your employees or customers interacting with your products. Consider creating and sharing informational and instructional videos. Videos which demonstrate troubleshooting or how to use a product are great ways to reach your audience. If your company regularly receives certain questions or requests, consider answering them in video format as well.

If you are going to use autoplay Facebook videos for your marketing strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Autoplay videos play without audio. Ensure that the message/content of your video can stand alone without audio. Or at least long enough to generate interest for viewers to click to view the video with audio.
  • People have short attention spans! Keep your videos short enough to retain their attention. But long enough to convey your message.
  • Only direct uploads will autoplay. If you have videos on your YouTube channel or in other mediums, they will not autoplay on Facebook. Consider uploading the original video format to Facebook rather than sharing the source link.

There is inevitable concern that this feature will translate into autoplay video ads in the near future. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid this reality. And this is one thing that a lot of people are complaining about. If you’re going to use videos within your marketing strategy, please think about the Facebook viewers. As a user, what would you like to see and what do you not want to see in videos. Take these things into consideration as you plan your strategy going forward.

And if you are one of those people who doesn’t want Facebook videos to automatically play in your news feed, you will need to download and install a Flash blocker to your browser.

I would like to hear from you. What do you think about the new autoplay feature and will you use more videos in your Facebook strategy in 2019?

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