How to Choose an Ad Offer for a Live Stream

How do you grow revenue from in-stream ads without increasing their quantity? That’s right, you improve the quality.

For your next live stream, choose an ad offer that resonates with your audience, and you will get higher engagement and payouts. Here’s how it works.

In-stream ads decoded

Live streams can usually be monetized with a cost-per-view or cost-per-click model, or sometimes both. While advertisers do pay for impressions, they are willing to pay more for interactions. And the more difficult the action, the bigger the payout: a paid subscription will bring you bigger revenue than an app installation.

One way to increase the chances of your audience taking the target action is to tailor the ad experience to the viewer. For example, if you play Fortnite, it makes sense to promote other MMORPG games or products targeting male viewers, since 72% of US Fortnite players are male.

Sadly, most online platforms give you little control over what ads will show up during your live stream. For example, YouTube lets you block ad categories or even specific advertisers, but the choice of ad offers isn’t up to you.   

Unlike YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and other popular platforms, third-party advertising networks may allow streamers to be selective about what ads to display. For example , StreamHERO has recently launched a marketplace where you can pick a particular brand or advertising campaign. 

Types of in-stream ads

The types of commercials you can run depend on the platform you stream on. Here are the most common types grouped by the ad placement with respect to the video content.

Pre-roll ads

These video ads play before your broadcast starts. Sometimes you can choose whether to make them skippable or not. YouTube viewers can skip in-stream ads after just 5 seconds. However, with cost-per-view bidding, you will only get paid if the viewer watches at least 30 seconds of the commercial or interacts with it.

Mid-roll ads

These ads need to be turned on manually during the live stream. Since they appear in the middle of the action, they‘re more likely to disrupt the viewing experience. To avoid that, let your audience know an ad break is coming, even though they will probably see a countdown anyway.

If you have subscribers, keep in mind that they may be watching the ad-free version of your broadcast. This means that your show must go on even during mid-roll ad breaks. On Twitch, viewers that aren’t subscribers will continue to see you in Picture-by-Picture format.

Post-roll ads

As you probably guessed, these commercials appear at the end of the stream. Some platforms may show them to those who haven’t seen pre- or mid-roll ads.

Non-video ads

These are static image and text ads that can be displayed outside the video content, or overlay it. It’s best when you can have flexibility over the placement of such a banner, just like in the image below. You’re paid for the number of impressions or targeted actions performed by viewers.

Overlay ad banner positioned on the right during a gaming live stream on StreamHERO

Eligibility requirements for in-stream ads

In the live streaming world, not everyone can run ads in their broadcasts. Popular platforms have their own eligibility criteria and content guidelines. Here are some examples.

To monetize streams on Facebook, your channel must have at least 600,000 minutes viewed in the last 60 days. These can include minutes from both live and on-demand videos, but the proportion must be at least 1/10th (60,000 minutes viewed from live videos). On top of that, a minimum of 10,000 followers and 5 videos is required.

YouTube, another popular social streaming platform, will let you join their Partner Program if you have more than 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months. You must follow their advertiser-friendly content guidelines and let your viewers know if there are any paid product placements, sponsorships or endorsements.

To become a Twitch Affiliate, you must pass a relatively low eligibility threshold of 50 followers. Plus, in the last 30 days, you must have broadcasted for a minimum of 500 minutes and 7 days with an average of 3 concurrent viewers. 

While popular streaming platforms have specific eligibility criteria, third-party services, such as StreamHERO, allow you to monetize broadcasts regardless of how popular your channel is. Even if you’re just starting and have relatively few viewers, you can already take advantage of in-stream ads. In fact, the smaller the audience, the more engaged it usually is, so advertisers are happy to collaborate with newcomers.

The do’s and don’ts of choosing an ad offer

So, this time it’s you who’s selecting advertisers and not the other way around. To make sure the ads of your choice are well-targeted, follow the simple guidelines below.

DO get to know your audience

Your viewers’ profile is directly related to your streaming content. If you play games, are they shooters, sports, fighting, or massively multiplayer online games? Do you broadcast mobile or desktop games? If you use “Just chatting’’ to entertain your audience with discussions, what is it that you mostly talk about? What’s your language and time zone?

Answering the questions above will give you an idea about your target audience. In the gaming category, the average gamer is likely to be a male of about 33 years old. In reality though, the proportion of female players depends on the game genre.

The proportion of male and female players in different game genres

DO get to know the ad offers

Now let’s take a closer look at the offers themselves. A good rule of thumb is to promote brands tied to the interests of your viewers. You may want to display ads from sport brands if your channel is dedicated to sport games or events. It’s also a smart idea to promote games similar to the one you’re playing.

Different advertisers will offer different terms and conditions. Make sure you understand how exactly the ad will be monetized. If your viewers are required to take an action, should they just download the product, install it, or maybe sign up for a paid version? Sure, the latter is the hardest to achieve, but the payout will be more significant.

DO check post-stream statistics

When you choose an ad offer for the first time, you may guess (or not) what campaigns will resonate with your audience. But once you’ve run a few commercials, you can learn through trial and error by checking post-stream statistics.

Depending on your platform, your analytics dashboard will contain different data. Pay attention to the number of clicks and conversions in relation to the number of impressions. Checking the number of clicks is a good idea, even if you get paid for views only. More clicks means more active followers and better advertising opportunities.

DON’T forget to promote

If you get paid for impressions, you can simply set up your ads and forget about them. But if you’ve chosen a cost-per-click bidding, you’d better dedicate a moment to promote them live. Learning about products from favorite streamers feels personal and trustworthy. 

Encouraging your audience to take action works best if you’re a brand advocate. Try to share a personal experience and be ready to answer questions in the chat. Still, don’t push too hard in order to keep the right balance between sales and entertainment.

DON’T stick to the same offers

Even if they work just fine. Remember that live stream viewers are there for entertainment. Promoting the same campaign to returning visitors will almost certainly annoy them, and won’t get many new conversions anyway.

To understand when enough is enough, check streaming insights. Try running the same commercials a couple of times and see the difference in results. Look through the chat as well, as your viewers may leave feedback there.

The bottom line

We bet you've heard a lot about the importance of ad placement in live and on-demand videos. Still, to make the most of your broadcasts, ad choice is equally important. 

Whenever you can select an advertising category, brand or campaign, go for those whose target market is synced with your audience. A well-targeted ad will bring more conversions and payouts, and will disturb the viewing experience less.