Facebook’s New Slideshow “Video” Units Have Clear SMB Appeal

Yesterday Facebook introduced a new “video” ad unit called “Slideshow.” It was officially presented as a tool to enable more dynamic advertising for emerging markets with slow mobile connections. However it has potential small business (SMB) advertising implications for so-called first-world markets as well.

The stated use case was Coke, which would create a TV-ad style video ad for high-bandwidth users and a Slideshow ad for low bandwidth users. Facebook will then detect whether the connection (probably on the phone) is sufficient to show the video. If not it will show the Slideshow instead. This is a pretty useful tool and capability for markets like India, parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

I was struck however by the potential for SMB usage in North America and Europe. Slideshow is not that different from existing Facebook Carousel Ads. However the images (up to 7) would automatically advance so they bring motion and pseudo-animation to the ad unit. There’s more of a “storytelling” dimension to these ads vs. Carousel.

Images can be uploaded by the business itself or from Facebook’s stock imagery (or a mix). Creation is simple and the units can be deployed in support of any business goal. There’s no cost to use Slideshow.

Facebook said in its blog post announcing Slideshow that that early testing showed these ads performed well and were in some ways more cost effective than conventional video units. The company is deciding whether to let Page administrators use the tool to create organic posts as well.

We’ll have to see how widely Slideshow is adopted in North America and Europe. But it represents a simple “video” solution for the low end of the market and one that may prove to be quite popular with first-world SMBs as well as brands in emerging markets.

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