Ad Breaks Open Program

Ad Breaks are short ads run within video content. This enables video creators to monetize their work. In early 2018, this feature was only available to a select set of partners. Mid-2018 we wanted to go global, complete with self-service onboarding for users. 





The international launch was initially scheduled for October of 2018, however, in late June we were informed of the international rollout of Facebook Watch. Our launch date was moved up a full two months. So we had to hit the ground running.

I was tasked with creating an entirely new onboarding flow to get these creators onto our platform in a self-service way, in a matter of weeks. We were not the first team to do this, but the existing flows from auxiliary teams were clunky, and drop-off rates were high. Due to such a tight deadline, the team decided to reuse many existing elements of these flows. So it became my job to scale these existing flows into something better, and specifically suited to our needs. So, I tapped my engineering team for data: Where were the drop-offs in the existing flows? What all information was absolutely necessary to fully onboard, and where could we make cuts?

an entirely new onboarding flow to get these creators onto our platform in a self-service way– in a matter of weeks

With this data in hand, I started stripping down the flow. A major drop-off point was the first screen. The existing flows had an intro screen to 'set context' for the user. However, this seemed cumbersome and annoying to those that were already coming from marketing pages. Stripping this screen out, and dropping them straight into onboarding seemed more logical. On that initial screen, we still provided a link to the primary marketing page for those users that did need more context.

In total, we managed to cut the flow from nine steps, down to four, while still capturing all the necessary information. We simply moved the lesser important tasks to post-onboarding, when these steps actually mattered to the user.


In addition to removing screens, we also gave creators the ability to onboard several accounts at once. Since our solution scales from individual video creators, all the way to large digital publishers like Buzzfeed, this bulk action was a big need. Some technical limitations led to long white-boarding sessions with the engineering teams, but in time, we were able to make it happen.

Aside from the onboarding flow, I was also tasked with designing the primary marketing site, as well as a widget that could work across surfaces, showing all accounts, in which a user could check their progress to becoming eligible for the program, and then swiftly onboard. 

In addition to the main site, we needed a way to drive potential users there, and encourage eligible users to onboard. We decided on a number of communication touchpoints, and to entice users and show the value we could add, we landed on a new feature we had been working on internally. A new metric that could determine how much money users were missing out on by not monetizing their content. Internally, we dubbed this feature MYLOT (Money You Left On the Table). The dollar amount was derived based on past video content and view counts. 

In user testing, this feature was ranked highly among creators. It helped build their trust, seeing how they could actually benefit, personally, before ever signing up. We placed this number in our outbound communication for eligible partners, and it dramatically improved our click-through rate on these notifications.

It helped build their trust, seeing how they could actually benefit, personally, before ever signing up.

In the weeks that passed, thousands of creators were coming onto the platform through this flow. The changes made showed significant improvement, and the team was delighted. Months later, we set out to expand our 'MYLOT' feature, and incorporated it directly into the onboarding flow. Despite all of our improvements, there was still a significant drop-off during the payments setup in onboarding. It was a hefty flow that included things people didn't usually have on hand, like a tax-ID. We decided to add in a MYLOT screen just before the payment step. This screen would only show for creators that missed on any amount greater than $100. This sole screen lifted completion of payment setup by 15%.


Over the past year, tens of thousands of creators and publishers have been able to onboard themselves through this flow, and the impact to the teams numbers have been significant. It was a great lesson for the team on just how much ease-of-use can impact product adoption, as well as the personalized communication of value to the user. You cannot expect people to spend their time testing your product on a whim; expressing value for the user before they ever even consider your product is essential and can pave the path to success.