Friday TechMunch: Is Your Facebook News Feed About to Get Even More Cluttered?

Have you ever felt that, although one image says more than a thousand words, sometimes not even one steady image is enough to express what you want to? Fret not. Facebook has unveiled it will be hosting a new advertising format: ‘Cinemagraphs’ ….  Cinewhat?

These are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs – giving the illusion that the viewer is watching a video. Still confused? Cinemagraphs are basically the middle point between photography and films.

House of Cards’ Tumblr-friendly promotional cinemagraphs beautifully capture the tone of the show. Cinemagraphs are usually formatted as animated gifs that ensure quality control, auto play and loop and maximum compatibility. So with several GIF images in sequence, you can resemble an animation, that’s how animated Gifs are created, after all, movies are 24 frames per second.


Now I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, in fact I have never even read the books, however, in one of the films, I saw the images in the newspaper move – now that is a reality and Facebook has not been slow to recognize the huge potential.

Facebook is describing the addition as an ad unit – suggesting it is unlikely to be available without a media spend. So should brands be investing in them? Potentially. It may be worth waiting to see how they perform.

Facebook is in a sweet spot, whichever way you slice it. Mobile advertising, which Facebook has figured out, will grow six times as fast as desktop over the next four years. Spending on social, as a proportion of total industry ad spend, will double in the next four years. And video will account for $21 billion in ad spend by 2018.

Facebook is likely to offer the functionality that uses the auto play feature of videos on the platform. But video ads without videos people actually want watch to watch can be disruptive at best, and drive away users at worst. For users to watch video ads on Facebook, they need to be used to watching—and sharing—videos on Facebook. The power of that sharing became apparent last summer, when videos from the viral ice-bucket challenge were seen 10 billion times by 440 million people.

So the routes to reaching your audience may be starting to differ but the destination is the same: personalised, relevant, measureable, high-value advertising. What do you think? A nuisance, or a huge opportunity?