Facebook Watch launched its original series Stephen vs the Game with a video ad campaign built to drive awareness and viewership, resulting in a 75% lift in show watch hours within Facebook Watch.

Watch together. More together.

Facebook Watch is a place on Facebook to enjoy original shows and the latest videos in sports, beauty, entertainment and more. Just as the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs began, Facebook Watch launched Stephen vs The Game, an original docuseries about star player Stephen Curry.


lift in intended watch hours of Stephen vs the Game


lift in show awareness among the target audience


lower cost per ThruPlay1


lower cost per link click2

I’m really stoked about the campaign results numbers, which demonstrate the power of shooting platform-specific content.
Driving viewership and awareness

Facebook Watch’s campaign goals were to drive higher viewership of its new docuseries about NBA star Stephen Curry during the NBA Playoffs and Championships and increase show awareness.

Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.
Capture attention in unexpected ways

To achieve the dual goals for this campaign, Facebook Watch designed a thumb-stopping digital ad campaign. The team first identified the most popular themes about Stephen’s appeal, the Warriors and the NBA—drawn from themes that were trending on Facebook and Instagram—and used these insights to help frame the campaign. The team then created engaging, relevant video ads starring Stephen that highlighted his life on and off the court—including his talent, shot-making skills and role as a family man.

In line with Facebook and Instagram’s mobile-first best practices, the Facebook Watch team built full-screen vertical video ads that prominently showcased the talent to draw immediate attention, displayed important branding elements within the first several seconds, included text overlays that could be understood with sound off and ensured that all ads were under 15 seconds in length. The company delivered these ads in Instagram feed, Instagram Stories and Facebook News Feed.

Facebook Watch strategically showed the ads to people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to US adults aged 18–49 nationally with an interest in Stephen Curry, the Warriors basketball team, the NBA and sports media. The company also showed the ads to Custom Audiences of people who had viewed a pre-promotional trailer video or watched any Stephen vs the Game episode, and to lookalike audiences based on the people in the Custom Audiences.

Something Went Wrong
We're having trouble playing this video.
“Ruin the ads”

Capitalizing on Stephen Curry’s reputation as the man who “ruined the game”—due to his prolific 3-point shooting, uncanny accuracy and unique talent—the Facebook Watch team irreverently embraced it by developing a campaign theme of “ruin the ads.”

In one video ad designed to capture attention and drive action and views, Steph appeared to “ruin the phone” by throwing a basketball at the viewer’s screen—cracking and breaking it. Messaging included: “An MVP on and off the court. Get to know the real Stephen Curry in new episodes of Stephen vs the Game.”

All ads included a “Watch More” call-to-action button that linked directly to the Facebook Watch landing page for Stephen vs the Game. Facebook Watch launched the ad campaign during the NBA Playoffs and Finals to capitalize on the existing media attention and cultural frenzy surrounding Steph and the Warriors.

Facebook Watch determined the results of this May 2–June 5, 2019 campaign using a Facebook conversion lift study, which revealed:

  • 75% lift in intended watch hours of Stephen vs the Game

  • 1.8% incremental lift in show awareness among target audience

  • 27% lower cost per ThruPlay (compared to other Facebook Watch Originals in first half of 2019, on average)

  • 49% lower cost per link click (compared to other Facebook Watch Originals in first half of 2019, on average)

Following Facebook and Instagram’s creative best practices, capitalizing on current cultural narratives and leveraging Instagram's unique media offerings allowed us to achieve statistically significant lifts in our behavioral and awareness metrics simultaneously. In addition, we earned some of the highest scores for ads ever tested at Facebook in the Breakthrough category.