Facebook Live videos have 6x as many interactions as traditional videos, which means an incredibly engaged audience. But what do you know about leveraging that engagement with Facebook Live ads?
If we were to guess, it’s probably not much. And that’s a problem, we’re going to help you solve it.
See, Facebook Live ads present a unique opportunity for both content creators and digital marketers. Content creators can earn ad revenue, while marketers can run ads on highly visible videos.
We’ll go more in-depth further down, but here’s the gist of Facebook Live ads: A content creator goes live to their audience, and shortly into the feed, they take an ad break.
In some ways, Facebook Live ads are a lot like a commercial break, but these ads are much shorter — a maximum of 20 seconds long.
That sounds pretty simple, right?
While it’s simple in theory, Facebook Live ads have two sides — the content creator/live streamer and the marketer who’s running the ad.
Today’s post is going to help you learn how to use Facebook Live ads for both sides. You’ll learn:
- A brief history of Facebook Live ads
- Who can run Facebook Live ads
- How live streamers benefit
- How digital marketers benefit
- The risks of using Facebook Live ads
- How to use Facebook Live ads
Everything marketers and live streamers need to know about Facebook Live ads
As we said, there are two sides to who can benefit from Facebook Live ads, marketers and live streamers. We’re going to start on the live streamer’s end because it’s their videos that make it possible to run the ads in the first place.
A brief history of Facebook live ads for live streamers
Facebook live ads were first rolled out in 2017 for beta testing. They were only available for pages with at least 2,000 followers. However, those pages also needed to have recent live videos with at least 300 concurrent viewers to be eligible for Facebook Live ads. After 90 seconds of their live video feed, the creator could click a button that allowed them to take an ad break.
Then, later in 2017, Facebook made changes to how pages qualify for Facebook Live ads. You had to be streaming for four minutes instead of 90 seconds. And you also had to have at least 50,000 followers to use the feature.
So, who can run Facebook Live ads?
Those changes mean that Facebook has gotten more strict about which live streamers can use these ads. So to make it easy, here are the exact qualifications. To run Facebook Live ads, you must:
- Have at least 50,000 followers
- Have recent live videos with at least 300 concurrent viewers
- Streaming video for at least four minutes
Learn more at Building Audiences with Video
Why would a live streamer want to use Facebook Live ads?
Facebook Live is an excellent tool for pages and influencers. Sure, regular folks can use Live, too. But if you have a large following, you can use Facebook Live to host Q&A sessions, host mini-webinars, do a big reveal, host a giveaway, etc. The live video aspect creates a sense of excitement that you just don’t get with a pre-recorded one.
All of that excitement means engagement, with viewers commenting and clicking buttons. And if you’re an influencer, what do you know to be true about engagement? It usually means money.
So, the most obvious answer to how a live streamer can benefit from Facebook Live ads is cash. Facebook Live ads allow you to monetize your content even more. You earn ad revenue when you take a break with a Facebook Live ad.
But, Facebook Live videos are work! You’ve got to set up for the video, drum up interest, and be ready to interact with everyone who’s watching. The longer your video is, the more work it takes.
Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break every few minutes to take a deep breath or grab a drink of water? Facebook Live ads let you pause your live content for a short break. Phew… don’t you feel better now? That break feels even better when you know it’s backed by cash.
But, what are the risks of Facebook Live ads?
The biggest risk to any new strategy is losing part of your audience. The fear is that a viewer might say, “I came for your video, not an ad!”
This is a valid point, so here are a few things you can do to mitigate that risk:
- Warn them about the break. Let them know before you cut to break (we’ll explain how to take a break shortly), and tell them it’s only 20 seconds long.
- Create a teaser. Tell your viewers why they need to hold on during the ad. It sounds simple because it is — and you’ve seen it before on TV shows. “I’ll be right back with the answer to _____.” “I’m going to share my top tip right after this short break.” This makes your ad breaks feel more natural and encourage your viewers to stick around.
- Make sure your video is engaging before you break. Clicks, comments, and a steady number of viewers are signs that it’s okay to take a break. If you’ve captured their attention for at least four minutes, you can probably hold it during a short break.
Overall, be honest and transparent with your audience and expect them to do the same.
You’re probably going to get some feedback for your ads, and that’s okay. Tell your audience why you’re doing it, even if that answer is to earn more revenue. That’s what you need for better equipment, support, etc. That, in turn, creates better content for them.
How to break for Facebook Live ads
Now that you understand how Facebook Live ads work for live streamers, it’s time to learn how to use them. Remember, you need at least 50,000 followers and previous videos with at least 300 concurrent views to start.
The process of taking an ad break is super simple:
- Four minutes into your live video, a blue dollar sign will appear. Next to the $, you’ll see, “You can take an ad break now.”
- Click on the $.
- Facebook will show your audience an ad that lasts up to 20 seconds.
- Your live stream resumes after the ad.
After another five minutes, you’ll have an opportunity to take another ad break.
Here’s an example of what it looks like when you’re ready for an ad break:
Now, Facebook Live ads for marketers and advertisers
What are the benefits?
Before we explain how to advertise with Facebook Live, here are a few statistics to help you understand why you would use Facebook Live ads in the first place:
- Facebook Live videos produce 6x as many interactions as traditional videos.
- They have 10x as many comments.
- Live viewers spend 3x longer watching live videos than pre-recorded ones.
As you can see, Facebook Live creates a captive and engaged audience, and that’s great from a marketing perspective.
Facebook Live ads also give you more options for ad placement, meaning more opportunities to reach a highly targeted audience.
But, are there risks for marketers?
Yes, and it’s really just one risk — you don’t have complete control over what kind of live video your ads are shown in, and we all know just how shocking content has gotten in the past.
However, there are a few reasons that this risk is less of an issue than it might sound like:
- Now those live streamers are required to have 50,000 viewers and previously successful videos, your ads are way less likely to show up in graphic content.
- You can create a block list to identify specific publishers whose videos you don’t want your ads to show up in.
- You can exclude categories, like debated social issues, mature content, tragedy and conflict, etc.
We’ll show you how to create a block list and how to exclude categories in the next section.
How to run Facebook Live ads
You now know the benefits and risks as a marketer, so here’s what you need to keep in mind when creating your Facebook live ads:
- You have 15-20 seconds. That’s not a lot of time, so keep things simple.
- Make an emotional appeal. The best way to utilize your time is to provoke an emotional response. Make the viewer feel fired up, make them laugh, bring them some joy.
- Create top-of-the-funnel ads. Facebook Live ads are more likely going to be seen by people who don’t know your brand, so use this time to quickly say “hello” and what you can do for them. Learn more at The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Sales Funnel.
- Consider ads that have already performed well. It might take some tweaking to fit the time constraints, but the metrics of other ads can and should inform what you run for Facebook Live ads.
- Use the correct aspect ratio. Facebook recommends a full landscape 16:9 for video ads, so use that. More on Facebook ads specs here!
As far as running Facebook Live ads, because you’ve probably run ads before (if not, start here!), this is going to be pretty straightforward.
Start with selecting the “video views” ad objective when creating the ad — these are going to give you the best results.
Then, under placement, select “In-Stream Videos.”
If you want to create a block list or exclude content, those options are right next to one another, which makes it super easy.
Really, excluding those categories is a good rule to practice for any type of ad. This way, your ads won’t be shown with any questionable content that could potentially hurt your client or brand.
For more information on running Facebook ads, our Facebook Side Hustle Course teaches you everything you need to start earning $1,000-$2,000/month running Facebook ads for small businesses.
The final word on Facebook Live ads — test and track!
This final point is for both live streamers and digital marketers.
Facebook loves to gather data (we mean the kind you can use), so take advantage of your marketing analytics and video stats. Use them to your advantage.
For live streamers,
What kind of feedback did you get from your audience? If you lost some viewers, did the ad revenue make up for the drop? How did you feel about the experience overall?
It’s pretty simple: how did those ads perform? What does the analytics say?
If you don’t like the answers to those questions, you can always try it again. But it’s also okay if Facebook Live ads didn’t work for you — they aren’t for everyone. And that’s one of the reasons we love Facebook ads so much; there are tons of options for leveraging Facebook’s massive reach.