What the New Real-Time Facebook Live Ads Mean for You

December 1, 2016

10:30 am

Facebook is experimenting with real-time ads, aired during the Facebook Live sessions they’ll promote. The reason seems clear: The social media titan is looking to make a little more money off of its massive advertising service by letting companies pay to promote ads for Facebook Live videos at the one time people are the most interested in watching them: When they’re actually live.

But how does that affect the user? Let’s review a few facts that should help us all process this info.

Video Ads Are Kinda Useless

Snapchat’s ads, while not always video, are a good indicator of the challenge behind getting audiences to pay attention: They average less than three seconds a view.

The real news here? Snapchat ads are among the most effective. Here’s the results of a recent study that used eye tracking tech to see how long people paid attention to ads on a variety of the biggest social media video platforms:

“A test using eye-tracking technology, for example, found that Snapchat ads commanded more attention than Instagram or YouTube ads, and twice as much attention as Facebook ads.”

Video ads aren’t useless, but like most ads, they’re only good for a second or two before most viewers will tap past them.

Facebook’s Ads Won’t Interrupt Your Facebook Live Viewing

It’s important to note just how the new ads Facebook is testing will work. They will not interrupt your Facebook Live video while you’re watching it live. Instead, the ads will promote an ongoing video, much like the sponsored posts you’ll occasionally see just a post or two from the top of your feed. The new twist: These ads will be advertising a Facebook Live event in real time.

Here’s the info from Digiday:

“At the moment, brands and publishers are promoting their Facebook Live content through sponsored posts prior to the broadcast or once the live video has ended. The new ads will appear in newsfeeds at the time of the live stream, giving both brands and publishers the chance to grab people in the moment, according to Liam Copeland, director of decision science for social media agency Movement Strategy.

The ads are still in the testing phase, said Copeland. A Facebook rep confirmed that the social network has been ‘running a small test’ of the Facebook Live ads, but refused to share details on which advertisers and publishers are testing this feature right now.”

The bottom line: Video ads aren’t showing great results, but Facebook remains committed to boosting their numbers. As long as view-thirsty publishers will pay them for the real-time promotional ads, that is.

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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