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Now Facebook is putting autoplay video ads inside Messenger

The big question: Do users want to see video ads next to their private messages?

Two heavily tattooed Thai men sit in the back of a truck, each looking at his phone. David Longstreath / Getty Images

Facebook found a new place to sell video ads: Inside Messenger, where some users will start to see autoplay video ads appear in their inbox right next to messages from friends and family.

Messenger first started selling ads inside Messenger 18 months ago, but they were static ads, not video. The benefit of video ads is that they’re usually more expensive, which means they’re more valuable to Facebook. The company has said in the past that it’s running out of room for ads inside its flagship Facebook app, so we’ve seen Facebook expand ads into more places, like Messenger and Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, Marketplace.

The concern if you’re a user, though, is that seeing autoplay video ads next to your private messages will feel intrusive or obnoxious.

Stefanos Loukakos, who runs Messenger’s ad business, says he’s aware of this, and the company will monitor user behavior to determine if these ads turn people off.

“Top priority for us is user experience,” he said from a beachside cabana at the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Tuesday. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”

“Video might be a bit different, but we don’t believe so.”

The ads started rolling out to people on Monday, Loukakos said.

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