For the longest time, Facebook refrained from using animated ads on its site, probably due to the fact that they would be a distraction for the site’s popular social feeds. But now it appears it’s relaxing a little bit and allowing the GIFs to run wild.
AdWeek reports that the social site has announced it will now allow animated clips to run on a small amount of brand pages, enabling companies to run GIFs for consumers to see. A few companies have already begun testing out the format, including Wendy’s and German soda Kust, who already put up the animated Nyan Cat ad below.
In addition, Facebook will also allow brands to test out these GIFs through promoted posts in users’ news feeds, although it isn’t likely to roll out of control anytime soon, as it hasn’t introduced a widespread business plan just yet.
There are certain limitations to the ads, as they can’t be placed in small sidebar ads (which are being phased out anyway), and “Boosted” page posts seem to be more of a focus than general ones.
Speaking with TechCrunch, a Facebook rep stated, “GIFs can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we’ve started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more pages.”
So it all depends on audience feedback, really. But considering that more and more users have been posting their own clickable GIF icons in their posts lately, these could easily catch on, especially for those that prefer a little more animation in their news feeds. It all depends whether they become bothersome over time, or worse yet, create problems for those simply trying to skim through their social feed on a mobile device, only to find Nyan Cat continuously running around in a Kust can.
We’ll see how this pans out over the next few months.