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Facebook Launches Video-Ad Test with ‘Divergent’ Teasers from Lionsgate’s Summit

Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment has crafted a series of video ads for youth-skewing pic “Divergent” that will be in the first wave of auto-playing video ads in Facebook’s launch this week, Facebook announced Tuesday.

On Thursday, a “small number of people” on Facebook will see video ads for “Divergent” begin playing in their News Feed on mobile and desktop (with sound muted by default). Facebook worked with Summit and ad agency Mindshare to promote a series of videos for the film, set to bow March 21, 2014.

SEE ALSO: Facebook to Make TV-Size Video Ad Play: Up to $2.5 Mil per Day

Facebook is characterizing the launch as a test, disputing a Wall Street Journal report that the company will begin selling video ads this week. “We’re not launching or selling anything; we’re not running ads, per se,” a Facebook rep said in an email. “We’re testing with one partner for one day (on Thursday).”

But execs at the social giant clearly see a tremendous opportunity to put video ads in front of their 100 million-plus U.S. users, which they position as offering TV-scale reach but with better targeting. The company has not revealed pricing for the ad units, but according to reports Facebook has been asking upwards of $2.5 million per day for targeted campaigns.

SEE ALSO: ‘Divergent’ Director Neil Burger Won’t Do Sequel

“Marketers will be able to use this new format to tell their stories to a large number of people on Facebook in a short amount of time — with high-quality sight, sound and motion,” Facebook said in a blog post. “This approach will continue to improve the quality of ads that you see in News Feed.”

After the first News Feed video spot plays, a carousel of two additional videos will appear in the ad unit, Facebook said. If the video is clicked or tapped and played in full screen, the sound for that video will play as well. According to Facebook, on mobile devices, video ads “will have been downloaded in advance when the device was connected to Wi-Fi,” meaning they won’t eat up bandwidth that counts toward a monthly wireless data plan.

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