Ever since Facebook Facebook began playing videos automatically in people’s news feeds back in December 2013, on mobile Facebook will now play those videos automatically with the sound on by default. This news was announced on Tuesday.
There was more news that was announced surrounding videos playing on small screens, like larger vertical videos and videos that play a smaller pop-our player such as on YouTube. Of course, this is old news.
Switching over to sound on will make it more difficult to check Facebook covertly. But don’t worry, there are ways to avoid the noise. “If your phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound,” Facebook said in a blog post. In order to disable videos playing with sound, you’ll have to go into Facebook’s settings.
But if you’re somebody who’s ok with the audible news feed, then you will hear your videos the moment they appear on your feed as you scroll. The sound will fade in and out as you pass through each video.
It seems that a big reason behind this change is possibly to make the company more friendly towards advertisers, like Unilever and its agency GroupM that only buy video ads that run with the sound on, and even brands, publishers and creators that have had to rethink their productions for an audio-agnostic environment.
Even though Facebook has attempted to quiet the calls for it to turn on the sound for their videos by default (they say that mobile viewers just don’t care for sound and adding ways for brands and publishers to insert subtitles into their videos. Snapchat has been very defiant with this idea and has rejected the idea that mobile audiences are anti-audio last year when they claimed that two-thirds of the videos in its app are watched with the sound on. Of course, Snapchat videos already play their videos with sound by default.
Facebook has started testing playing videos with sound on by default in some countries. They claim that 70 percent of the time those viewers leave the sound on, including when ads are playing. “The majority of people we surveyed felt positive about the experience, and we have seen increases in watch time and sharing where sound on was introduced,” according to a Facebook blog post aimed at advertisers. It seems that another idea behind turning on sound by default for videos is to hopefully drown out any attention from Facebook’s rival has been receiving for being more similar to a T environment. Also, Facebook wants to amplify the attention they get from advertisers, mainly the ones looking for a digital home for their TV ad dollars.