Twitch Announces New Ad Experiment

On September 14th, 2020, Twitch Announces Mid-Roll Ads for Some Viewers

Starting today, we’ll be testing automated mid-roll ads for some viewers. These ads will directly support the Creator and won’t run if the viewer has had an ad break in that channel recently. Your feedback is welcomed to help shape this feature!”  Official Post Link

Before I share my personal thoughts and those of GamerLoop Network’s Stream Team, let’s cover in detail what Twitch has posted on the subject.

Help.Twitch.TV further explains the new ad experience –

Beginning in September, as part of an ad experiment, some viewers may begin to notice that they are receiving ads during streams that others in a channel aren’t receiving.

Like pre-rolls, these are ads triggered by Twitch, not by the creator. Unlike a pre-roll, these ads will never play before a stream starts.

Creators will be paid for every one of these ads that run, just like they’re paid for pre-rolls and ad breaks that they run. And, we’ve enabled Picture-by-Picture in all channel categories, so viewers can enjoy an uninterrupted ad-viewing experience.

As we experiment and learn more about what works, we’ll communicate with our community and provide updates on our evolving ad experience.” – Help.Twitch.TV

It’s noteworthy that the aforementioned Picture-by-Picture feature moves and shrinks the live stream 16:9 window to the top of the chat window while the ad takes over its position. This stream window becomes roughly less than a quarter of its original size and, notably, muted while the ad plays. When the ad completes, the stream returns to its previous position.

Help. Twitch also included FAQ’s for Viewers and Creators – You can read this here or continue reading.

Viewer FAQ –

Are these new types of ads different than other ads I’ll see?

They look exactly the same! Nothing will change about the viewing experience. Subs and Turbo users remain ad-free.

Will these ads get Picture-by-Picture?

Yes! You won’t miss any of the action. We’ve recently expanded Picture-by-Picture to include all channel categories.

Are all viewers seeing these ads?

Currently, this is an experiment and will only impact a small percentage of viewers.

If I am a part of this experiment, will I get both pre-rolls and this new type of ad?

You may still get pre-rolls. Creators remain able to disable pre-rolls by running ad breaks.

We’ve seen companies choose very carefully who represent them and quickly remove any affiliation with brand ambassadors whose words or actions do not coincide with the company’s vision.

Creator FAQ –

Will all viewers on my channel see this new type of ads?

This only affects a small portion of viewers. And, all of the same rules apply – subs won’t see them, and Turbo users won’t see them.

How can I cancel these types of ads?

As a creator, you remain able to disable pre-rolls for your incoming viewers by running ads. We’ll make sure viewers in your channel don’t see both your creator-run ad break and this new ad we’re experimenting with.

Will these ads run on my channel?

Yes – these ads will run on Affiliate and Partner channels. Creators will get paid for every ad that runs on their channels.

Let’s Recap –

  • Channel and Turbo Subscribers are not affected.
  • Non-subscribed viewers still see your stream while during ad rolls via Picture-by-Picture, however, it’s quite small and stream audio is muted.

More concerns arise regarding this ad experiment that leaves streamers on the platform scratching our heads. We asked the GamerLoop Network Stream Team about their initial thoughts:

  • Streamers can’t opt-out or at least explore other options that fit their channel and community.
  • No information on mid-ad roll frequency.
  • Non-customizable Picture-by-Picture blocking. The live stream is too small during ad roll.
  • This is perhaps the most concerning point: Choosing what brand ads represent you, the streamer.

To the fourth point, we’ve seen companies choose very carefully who represent them and quickly remove any affiliation with brand ambassadors whose words or actions do not coincide with the company’s vision. It goes without saying that we, as creators, should also have a choice in what ads play on our channels and, in a sense, what companies represent us.

Twitch’s current ad experiment doesn’t include an opt-out feature, however, if presented with choices of a) ad frequency tiers, b) what brands can play ads, and c) customizable Picture-by-Picture blocking, creators on the platform may be more inclined to accept the feature.

For now, Twitch has clearly stated this is an experiment and the past 24 hours has presented them with an immense amount of feedback. We’ll keep you posted on how this evolves.