Facebook is pouring resources into making Facebook Live catch on, even running outdoor ads for the service to teach people how and when to use it. Now, Facebook is testing real-time ads brands and publishers can use to alert people to live broadcasts.
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.
While the value of live videos often depends heavily on timeliness, paid promotion of any kind takes time to grow, explained Mike Dossett, manager of digital strategy for agency RPA.
“That presents a unique challenge if there is any lag between the stream going live and the promotional support going live,” said Dossett.
Benefit Cosmetics, for instance, ran boosted posts from September 19 to September 25 for a live video called “Brow Hour” that aired on August 23. The campaign performed much better than other Facebook Live videos from the company, garnering a million reach, 392,000 engagements and 389,000 views, according to Laurin Hicks, digital brand manager for Benefit Cosmetics.
“A couple of months ago, we saw which live video performing well organically and then place boosted posts around it to reach more people,” said Hicks. “We are looking to develop a robust strategy in 2017. For instance, we plan to promote a live video a week later rather than three or four weeks later, and we want to test Facebook’s lookalike targeting.”
Aside from the real-time promotion feature that Facebook is currently testing, the platform introduced scheduled live streams last month to let advertisers and publishers make an announcement post for an upcoming broadcast.
“I do believe [brands] would be willing to invest more in production for Live format if Facebook were able to showcase, guarantee the type of audience reach and scale brands could buy into,” said Ethelbert Williams, CMO for cosmetic brand InstaNatural. “There are strategies to boost reach for Live format video today, but the ability to drive better visibility and accountability for what a brand could actually achieve is enticing and helps justify any investment here.”