Facebook is trying out a new type of advertising to keep our eyes on our newsfeeds, specifically the advertisements we are trained to quickly scroll past. Cinemagraphs are half-photo, half-video images in which something in the ad is moving. For those having trouble visualizing this, here is an article with several examples and a deeper explanation of the format.
In my opinion, the cinemagraph is a more appealing form of advertising than fixed photos or videos. Unless a fixed ad has some clever content or eye-catching element, I will likely scroll past it. Videos require more of a commitment from viewers, especially if they need sound to make their point. When I read the article about cinemagraphs, I stopped to look at each image for several seconds, which is more than I’ve done for an ad on my newsfeed in a while.
Catching attention is a huge part of an advertisers job, especially on Facebook, when advertisements are the last thing we want to see. Facebook is trying to “quietly introduce” brands to this advertising format, but I’m guessing that once it appears on newsfeeds and sees some success, we’ll be seeing it in more places than just our Facebook feed.