A tool that gives creators an ability to schedule ads breaks ahead of their stream and control these breaks during the stream itself. This tool will also be scalable to hold more upcoming features, including ad brand and format preferences, revenue information, and viewership impact. Another important thing to point out is that we have different types of creator contracts - some are required to run ads, and others are not. Ads manager works for both.
Increase ads supply opportunities on Twitch.
As part of an ongoing strategy to increase the ad supply on Twitch, my team and I have worked on various products to address the users’ pain points and discover new opportunities. Before we dive in, I want to give a small mention to the other products I’ve worked on that work in conjunction with Ads Manager. One of the earliest and simplest products,Picture in Picture, is an interaction that allows viewers to continue watching the creator while an ad is running. Positively received, it reduced drop-off rates by 46%.
To address creator needs, I designed an option to disable pre-rolls on the channel when the creator rolls an ad. This created an incentive for the creators to run ads themselves and increase their discoverability by removing the ad on their channel that blocks new viewers from their stream for 30 seconds - and is especially punishing for smaller channels that don’t yet have a large demographic. Creator ad running metric increased from ~10% to ~15%.
These products started scratching the surface of the control that viewers and creators seek from the ad experience leading to the development of more complex tools like Ads Manager.
With video ad loads increasing exponentially, we have to put creators at ease and give them a sense of control over potential ads mandated on their channel.
We have conducted multiple studies to understand the behavior of viewers and creators around ads on Twitch. To start, smaller creators have different goals, and user needs depending on their lifecycle stage. T1's are trying to improve their stream setup, attract viewers, and create a streaming schedule, whileT2's and early-stage T3's are more focused on fostering and growing a community while entertaining others. More established T3's are trying to make a living off of streaming and looking for talent recognition.
Although each creator has different motivations, they all agree that ads prevent them from engaging their viewers, and the money made is not nearly enough for them to benefit from running them.
These creators are not as interested in creating shared experiences with advertising.Still, they believe that the more involved they are with the ad, the more influence they need over the product advertised—this section highlights whereT1, T2, and T3 creators differ from T4 creators. From this research, we were able to narrow down what Twitch can do to improve the user experience.
The following principles were a result of user research and the strategic trajectory of the product.
Early on I explored the approach of goal-oriented experience vs.viewer-engagement-oriented experience and landed on the latter. This was because we couldn't guarantee that users will hit their goals, and the inaccuracies of the prediction model would turn off a lot of users. Another constraint was our complicated onboarding experience for creators who are under contract to run ads, vs those who are not. Also there are some creators who are already using a V1 version of this feature that I've also designed and scaled it up to hold more features. FTUE needed to work within the principles of the creator dashboard and live in harmony with other features without sticking out too much but still guiding the user through the full onboarding to completion.
To introduce this product, we started with a smaller audience, releasing it in phases. Initially, we targeted custom contract creators who are required to run ads but don't. This was the V1 version of the Ads Manager. We provided them with an observation/control panel to let them know when the ads are coming up, giving them the ability to run ads themselves during more convenient times.
The"experiment" was a preinstalled panel that appeared for custom contract partners that showed when the next ad would appear on a dynamic timeline. We provided a local run ads button to eliminate the upcoming ad by running one themselves.
In the final design, the space is expanded to cover the settings and the control panel. The creation of this space led to the reorganization of the creator settings, allowing easier discoverability of the feature and an overall balanced hierarchy. This is where creators can make changes to their ad preferences, making it a scalable space that will come in handy later.
Going one level deeper in the Ads Scheduler, we can see that users can set up various controls on when they want their ads to appear. Design exploration has been undertaken for this scenario in case ad running becomes mandatory for all creators.
Once the schedule has been set up, creators can add the control panel to their dashboard. We've also added the ability to snooze the upcoming ad if the timing is inconvenient for the creator.
When the ad is coming up the stat lights up with the warning color, and snooze button becomes available.