For the first time, Facebook is piloting ads within Live video streams. The social network, which has said that monetization opportunities are imminent as it continues to build a contingency of high-profile broadcasters, is currently testing mid-roll ads that appear inside of streams, Ad Age reports.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to feel that pre-roll ads — as popularized on YouTube — detract from the viewing experience, according to Ad Age, and, thus, Live ads right now can appear five minutes into a broadcast, and can be up to 15 seconds long. “We’re running a small test where a group of publishers have the option to insert a short ad break in their Facebook Live videos,” the company confirmed to Ad Age in a statement.
The ads that currently appear within streams are culled from promoted video campaigns running elsewhere across the network — and brands have no control over when and where their commercials might show up on Live. Facebook has offered some brands the opportunity to opt out of the test, Ad Age reports. The company is also reportedly honing a feature that would serve different ads to different viewers within the same stream.
Publishers, on the other hand, can control what kinds of advertisements run within their broadcasts. As many notable streams cover highly sensitive and serious topics — including the aftermath of the shooting of Philando Castile at the hands of police last month — publishers can also turn off ads on a post-by-post basis. Facebook is keeping ad revenues during the pilot program, according to Ad Age, though it would ostensibly split earnings with publishers were the program to move forward.
As Facebook does not currently have a fully established ad model in place, the company has been paying top influencers, celebrities, and media companies to utilize Live. Facebook is reportedly paying roughly 24 YouTube creators, Vine stars, and other digital influencers a total of $2.2 million dollars to regularly host streams over the course of five-and-a-half months. Early participants include Ray William Johnson, Elise Strachan of My Cupcake Addiction, and the Viner Jon Paul Piques.