Facebook introduces ‘Slideshow’; solves video ad streaming in slow connectivity

Slideshow is an ad format which auto-plays a series of photos as a slideshow with transitions so it looks like a normal video but is quickly loaded across any connection or device

e4m by Ritushree Patra
Published: Nov 3, 2015 8:09 AM  | 4 min read
Facebook introduces ‘Slideshow’; solves video ad streaming in slow connectivity

Videos are one of the most sought-after ad-formats today and also the best way for companies to connect with their consumers and generate revenue in turn. But these videos consume a lot of data which makes them harder to access by people with low-bandwidth connections. To sort out this issue, Facebook has introduced a new ad format, ‘Slideshow’. The application creates lightweight video ads of five to 15 seconds out of a series of three to seven still images.

The company also launched a new initiative for its employees called the ‘2G Tuesdays’ through which they will get a pop-up that gives them the option to simulation a 2G connection which will help them understand how people with 2G connections use their product and accordingly address related issues.

Nikila Srinivasan, Product Manager - Emerging Markets Monetisation, Facebook said,” Slideshow is about how and when people want to connect. It solves a broad range of challenges for both advertisers and consumers. And we are extremely excited to see some of the great results that our initial partners and beta testing have experienced.”

Coca-Cola has run one of the first slideshow ads to raise awareness for its show, Coke Studio Africa, in Kenya and Nigeria. They took high-resolution screenshots from the video, uploaded them in sequence along with some basic text, and ran the story as a slideshow on Facebook. The ad reached two million people, twice the target that Coca-Cola had in mind. Additionally, ad awareness rose 10 per cent.

Tom Alison ,Director of Engineering, Facebook said on the recent changes in the format of the social networking site, “We realised that there was a need for a format that works in 2G connections or comparatively, a slower connection also. So, there are some changes we have made in response to our research in the emerging markets. ‘Newsfeed FYI’ is the first change that we brought in. Now, when we deliver a newsfeed product experience we take your network connection into account. We developed a tool called ‘Network Connection Class’ which allows us to understand the quality of your network. We can use that information to change how we deliver the product. While loading the newsfeed, we don’t load the entire newsfeed at once but load it incrementally as we scroll. On poor connections we will load the next set of newsfeed ahead of time. The other thing that we have brought a change in is the image loading experience. Now, we load a lower resolution of the image on slower connections while the same image in higher resolution comes and fill in that space eventually. Also, it would show the already loaded stories while loading the recent ones.”

Kelly MacLean, Business Lead for Emerging Markets, Facebook said, “Think about the growth in the emerging markets; 85 per cent of the world’s population is in the emerging and high growth markets. And this is not just the BRIC market; there are over 3 billion people who are located in non-BRIC markets which is about three times the size of the developed markets alone. If you look at the GDP growth in the next five years, 60 per cent of it will be coming from these emerging markets.”

MacLean pointed out, “High-growth emerging markets are facing three main challenges which are Access and Devices, Retail Fragmentation and Localisation.”

According to an e-marketer report, more than 130 million people use Facebook in India; a number that has grown by 22 per cent since last year. 50 per cent of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from outside of US.

Facebook is currently working with 85 per cent of Kantar’s reported top 100 Advertisers in India, including Unilever, P&G, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, Mondelez and L'Oreal. Companies headquartered in India, like Tata and ICICI Bank, e-commerce companies like Snapdeal, Flipkart, Craftsvilla and online cab aggregator, Ola are also working with social media platform.

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