This week Facebook is trying out a new ad format that attempts to bring social networking to video placements.
New placements began appearing on the site touting the DreamWorks movie Tropic Thunder. The ads, running on the right side of the page, feature a click-to-play trailer. When users watch the video, they are then presented with a commenting option, similar to those that appear within the site’s News Feed.
I love to comment especially about films so I hope the film companies can take the heat.
Comments are featured from others in a user’s network. In this way, a user can see what his or her friends think about a movie or product.
A Facebook spokesman said the ads are a test of new formats the site is undertaking following a redesign this month.
Facebook has struggled to craft an ad system that fits its environment, where users often come to exchange information with friends. Banner ads on the site are known to get very low click-through rates, and they often compete with many other items on the page for attention.
The site is not the first to experiment with ad comments. Weblogs tried a system called Focus Ads in 2005 that would display user comments on ad messages.
Facebook’s first attempt at crafting a unique ad system mostly fell flat. Its Beacon program, which beamed certain user activities from advertiser sites, was scaled back due to privacy complaints. The site still runs Social Ads that features endorsements of a user’s network.
The new ad test follows a site redesign that changed ad placements from the left side of the page to the right column. The shift was part of a much larger site redesign that the company says will improve the user experience by making the venue less cluttered and emphasizing feeds from a user’s friend activities.