Facebook Gaming is making a major step forward in its efforts to compete alongside Twitch, YouTube and other platforms for their share of the livestreaming market, with the introduction of long-awaited monetization features.
The new features will include the ability for streamers to run mid-roll ad breaks during a stream, as well as use ‘stars’, the donation system on Facebook Gaming, for VOD content.
Twitch has generally led the way in terms of innovation for monetizing livestreams, but is outshone in the VOD department by YouTube, and perhaps Facebook Gaming too.
“Many gaming creators know us as a livestreaming platform,” the announcement explains, “but VODs (videos on-demand) are very popular on Facebook, and obviously for gaming at large. We’re increasing our focus on gaming VOD to give creators the tools and support they need for making awesome content on Facebook Gaming.
“We want to invest in helping gaming creators take advantage of the resources Facebook can provide to help their content reach as many people as possible, whether it’s live or on-demand.”
What are Stars on Facebook Gaming?
Viewers on FB Gaming can already use Stars for live content, which works as a donation system, akin to Twitch’s ‘Bits’. Moving forward, Stars will be enabled for VOD content.
Creators will be able to set a Stars goal on a video, and they can then respond individually or in batches to thank viewers who have sent Stars. 10 Stars are free, 45 Stars cost $0.99, and 145 cost $2.99.
Creators receive $0.01 for every star received, so a 500-star donation is equivalent to $5 for the creator.
Stars on VOD is currently being tested with a select ‘pilot’ group of creators, before being rolled out fully.
Ad breaks come to Facebook Gaming
Facebook has also announced that they are adding functionality for streamers to take an ad break. This too is still in the testing phase currently.
“We’re testing Live Breaks, a new form of mid-roll ads for gaming creators in our partner program to earn money and keep viewers entertained while taking a short break. Live Breaks are manually-triggered 30-, 90-, or 150-second mid-roll ad breaks that incorporate a mixture of standard mid-roll video ads and creator-generated or viewer-generated content such as highlights and clips of amazing plays or curated calls to action for your viewers. Calls to action could include anything from videos to educate your audience about Stars and Fan Subs, or calls to join your Facebook Group.”
At first, Live Breaks will only be available to a select group of partners, before rolling out after the test phase.
Facebook Gaming is also expanding its ‘Level Up’ program, which is effectively a tier below partner on the platform. It allows creators to start earning from their content, even if they’re not a partnered streamer.
Level Up is now available in nine more countries: Hong Kong, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Venezuela.