When Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) revealed in December that the company had begun testing auto-play video ads, the move received enthusiastic response from investors. Web video firms such as YouTube, PopSugar and others are trying to persuade advertiser to spend more on web video advertising at the NewFronts event. Facebook doesn’t produce or license content like those presenting at the NewFronts. But senior executives at web video companies privately admit that the social networking giant’s route to video advertising has them worried, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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Facebook has almost every demographic advertisers want

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) allows advertisers to put video ads on the brands’ pages. The company is gearing up to roll out auto-play video ads that can target specific demographics or run across the site. And its 1.2 billion user base ensures that the platform has pretty much any demographic advertisers want. In December, the social networking giant tested video ads for the movie Divergent. Soon, the company will start running these auto-plays ads to its entire user base.

Currently, more brands use Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s News Feed ad units to drive traffic to videos on the brands’ pages. The Menlo Park-based company’s new auto-play product has a clear advantage over the web video outlets. Facebook lets advertisers select the target audience directly. For instance, Progressive Insurance has created a unique video ad that will debut on Facebook on May 6. The ad will reach to every Facebook user between 18 and 34 that access the site on that day.

Facebook’s pitch resonates with advertisers

Progressive Insurance said the auto-play video ads will be weighted against the web video ads. Jon Beamer of Progressive said that Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO)’s shows reach a different audience than the company’s core audience. But Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) says, “You can own a demographic for a day.”

Facebook ads

That’s the kind of pitch that resonates with marketers, and can easily attract TV ad budgets. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is selling these auto-play ads like TV ads. And Mark Zuckerberg is providing TV-like ratings data. The company will bring some new video ad measurement tools so that advertisers can track data such as unique viewers for each campaign.