Four years after Facebook introduced Stories, user-generated posts that disappear after 24 hours, the California-based company is taking it one step further as it announced on Thursday that it is expanding its monetization options for video creators to earn through Stories and other content.
Facebook will now allow some creators to place ads that look like stickers into their stories, thus receiving a cut of the resulting revenue. The company also revealed plans to run more advertising on videos as short as one minute. Previously, only videos at least three minutes long would show ads. Those ads will usually play after 30 seconds of a shorter video.
Videos longer than three minutes can place ads as soon as 45 seconds into the video.
The initial test is “very small,” Facebook said but hoped it could expand it “soon” and finally apply the technology to all short-form videos on Facebook. “We want to make sure that there is more content that can be monetized,” said Yoav Arnstein, Facebook’s director of product management, in a blog post. “We know that short-form video is becoming far more popular.”
“Looking ahead, we’re exploring in-stream ad formats that increase engagement through rewards or product interaction — intending to help content creator payouts grow while providing a good viewing experience for people and a way for advertisers to reach relevant audiences,” Arnstein wrote, adding that the company is “especially focused on short-form video monetization” and will be testing a way to include ads that look like stickers to Facebook Stories.
Currently, Facebook takes 45% of the revenue from ads, and the creators take the rest. Thursday’s move comes as part of a larger initiative to better compete with ByteDance’s TikTok, which has garnered huge popularity, and Snap Inc.’s Snapchat. Both Snapchat and TikTok have been experimenting with direct payments to creators of popular content to attract and grow its user base.
To qualify for these in-stream ads, pages that publish them must have 600,000 total minutes viewed from any combination of video uploads — on-demand, live, and previously live — in the last 60 days, as well as five or more active video uploads or previously live videos.
Live video creators now must have 60,000 live minutes viewed in the last 60 days to monetize through in-stream ads, in addition to meeting the video-on-demand program requirements. The number of content creators earning $10,000 a month from Facebook’s programs grew by 88% in 2020, Facebook said. It also expanded its paid live events to 24 additional countries (including Argentina, Hong Kong, and Ireland) and fan subscriptions to 10 more countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey).
Additionally, Facebook revealed plans to spend $7 million to promote Stars, which lets viewers of the live content tip with virtual stars, and each star pays a creator a cent. The company will make free Stars available during certain live streams, and viewers can them send to the creators. The team will also introduce virtual gifts that viewers can send.
“We want to enable more people to actually go and experience this delight of actually going and supporting a creator, and we think this is a relatively new behavior that we want to make more ubiquitous across the app, and we think this is a great way to do that,” Arnstein said.