Today, at an event organized to discuss Facebook’s growth opportunity in emerging markets, the company introduced a new ad unit called “Slideshow.”
Slideshow is a new video substitute — although Facebook calls it video — that is principally designed to play in markets where mobile connections are slow or unreliable. Companies like Coke can use it to create more dynamic and engaging ads for users on a 2G connection — in India, for example.
The idea is that Coke (which participated in the beta) will create two campaigns: one a traditional video, the other a Slideshow. Facebook will detect the user’s connection speed and then show the appropriate ad.
Perhaps more interesting is the way that this unit might be used by small businesses around the world to create self-service “video” ads. Here’s how the blog post describes Slideshow creation:
Slideshow makes it easy for advertisers to create video ads from still images. Simply upload three to seven still images — they can be from an existing video, a photo shoot or even stock imagery from our library — and choose the length of your slideshow, from 5 to 15 seconds.
Slideshow reduces the need for video production time and resources, and because of its smaller file size, it extends eye-catching ads to people on basic devices or with poor connectivity. In early testing, we found that a 15-second slideshow can be up to 5x smaller in file size than a video of the same length. Slideshow uses video-like motion and no sound, giving advertisers a new way to tell brand stories to people everywhere.
Facebook says that Slideshow is now available but will be rolling out over the coming weeks to Power Editor and Ads Manager. There is no additional cost to use the tool.
It will likely be available as an ad option on Instagram. There was also a suggestion that Slideshow might be available in the future to create organic posts. That’s still being determined (though assume yes).
At the event, Facebook said that more than half of its revenue comes from non-North American markets and that the next two billion users will come from places where the dominant form of internet access is mobile but on slow connections.