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Facebook is testing video ads during Live broadcasts

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March 9, 2017

If you watch a lot of Facebook Live broadcasts, get ready to see some ads.

The company is now testing short video ads that will play during breaks in Facebook Live broadcasts, they confirmed to Adage.

The move shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who follows Facebook and their various video products. Video ads are lucrative for Facebook and a Live product devoid of ads would cause the company to miss out on tons of potential ad revenue.

So how will they work? That’s a little less clear. For now, the company is just letting “a small group of publishers” insert a short ad break in their Live videos. The ads can appearanywhere after five minutes into a live stream, and can last up to a maximum of 15 seconds.

Facebook reportedly told advertisers that during the beta all ads shown during Live broadcasts will be taken from other promoted video campaigns already running on Facebook, but it’s safe to assume if the test is successful advertisers may soon have the ability to create custom ads designated to be shown during Live broadcasts.

So what control will video publishers have? Adage reports that publishers can control what category of advertiser can show video during their stream, as well as turn it off if a Live feed isn’t appropriately themed to contain an ad (like a sensitive breaking news story).

And in terms of revenue – during the test period publishers aren’t able to receive a portion of the revenue generated from ads during their Live broadcasts, but could in the future depending on how Facebook decides to structure their Live ad product.

It’s also not clear yet if publishers will be able to set a designated “commercial break” where all viewers see an ad at once, or if Facebook will randomly commandeer a Live stream with a 15 second ad. If it’s the former and publishers can initiate a designated commercial break (and potentially generate revenue), it could actually be an ad product that publishers and content creators ends up liking.

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