Finnish developer Zynga is closing down one of its most popular web games, FarmVille, after 11 years on Facebook. Facebook announced back in July…
It’s a change Instagram pushed through in an update described simply as “performance updates and other improvements” but it could have a major impact on how users watch videos (and, in the not-to-distant future, ads) on the photography app. Yep, the tiny setting which allowed you to make sure videos didn’t play automatically is no more.
Previously, users were able to choose whether or not they wanted videos to start playing as they swished through their feed. Turning the option off conserved data, as just the cover frame loaded and users had to tap on the image to play the clip. The latest version of the mobile app has replaced that functionality with an option that simply lets you chose if you want upcoming videos to ‘always’ preload or just over Wi-Fi to save your mobile usage. Oh, and data conservationists beware: ‘always’ is the default setting.
While preloading the videos cuts down the time users take to start a video, it also means they’re less likely to get bored waiting and skip the post in favour of a nice static image. It’s also a boost for Instagram’s future advertising prospects if it can guarantee at least a portion of each sponsored video will be seen by any user speeding through their feed who hasn’t taken the Wi-Fi only route.
Although Instagram doesn’t allow advertising as yet, this change comes less than a week after the team announced it would begin rolling out a small number of ads to users in the United States. It seems that all that talk about 15 seconds (the maximum length of an Instagram video) being the perfect length for ads may not be too far off the mark after all.