- Facebook is testing autoplay video (including ads) on the mobile app with the sound on, according to Mashable.
- The report says the test is active in Australia. The test presents groups with different versions, including one where the video autoplays with audio and another one where it does not.
- "We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start," a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. "For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself.
There has been much debate over the role of sound in video on social media. While Facebook's video ads autoplay with the sound turned off, competitor Snapchat does the opposite — and sees positive results.
Facebook has reported that 80% of videos on its platform are watched without sound while Snapchat has reported the opposite, with two-thirds of its video being watched with the sound on. For marketers, this means creating video ads that are meant to be watch both with and without sound by adding captions and other visual clues for viewers not listening to the audio.
Now Facebook's test could open the door to the platform autoplaying videos with the sound turned on. The test included another option where users could easily turn video ad sound on and off through a button on the video itself, similar to Twitter and Vine videos.
But even if Facebook’s test finds autoplay ads with the sound on successful, it might want to carefully consider how that could impact the user experience and how its users — who tend to be much older than Snapchat’s Millennial and Gen Z heavy audience — might react to an unexpected video ad that autoplays with audio, especially in the workplace.