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While marketers are hailing Facebook's decision to introduce video ads into users' News Feeds, social media mavens, who are frequently on the site, are less pleased.
The social networking giant announced this week that, beginning Thursday, it will roll out video ads for the 2014 film Divergent in select users' News Feeds.
The move may help Facebook pull in lucrative ad revenue at the risk of alienating frequent users, some of whom have already voiced concerns about the ads being intrusive or annoying.
"I have limited my Facebook use as it is. Perhaps introducing video advertisements will make my usage even less frequent," says Allen Navasero, a junior at Cornell University.
When asked what he thinks about the ads, Ashan Fernando, a senior at the University of San Francisco, also offers a tepid response.
"I think that introducing the concept with movie trailers is interesting. I'd probably click to watch them on my computer if they were different films each ad," he says.
"But the ads that Facebook hopes to show on users' phones would be intrusive and would probably slow down what I'm doing," Fernando says.
Fernando adds that, while he would be fine with seeing ads for movies like Divergent, he draws the line at movie-related ads.
"I don't like watching non-trailer ads unless it's during the Super Bowl, so I think overall, I'd be unhappy with the fact that there is movement on my screen that is distracting and unwanted," Fernando says.
That could be bad news for Facebook.
If the social network's preliminary tests show that an overwhelming majority of users are only willing to watch movie-related ads, it could be limited in the types of content it can market through the ads.
Preliminary surveys hint that Fernando and Navasero will not be alone in balking at the video ads.
In a November survey conducted by the global marketing consultancy Analytic Partners, 83% of users said they "would find any kind of video that automatically plays in their [News Feeds] to be intrusive and as such would likely ignore them."
Just 17% of users said the ads would be "enticing."
The ads could also scare off older Facebook users, who are becoming a larger presence on the social network.
According to Analytic Partners' survey, just 19% of those age 45 and older are "proponents of video advertising," compared with 31% of those age 18 to 44 years old.
All the same, Navasero said it is unlikely he would ever deactivate his Facebook account because of the ads.
"Facebook is a free service, and watching some ads in order to use this service that helps me keep in touch with friends around the world is pretty fair," he says.
Akane Otani, USA TODAY College