By Deepa Seetharaman
Facebook Inc. plans a major ad campaign, including TV spots and billboards, to encourage more of its 1.7 billion users to stream live video on the social network, according to people familiar with the matter.
Facebook Live, launched in April, has been adopted by many major publishers and public figures, some of whom are paid millions of dollars by Facebook to produce a specified number of live videos every month.
With this ad campaign, Facebook hopes to win over ordinary users, who don't live-stream as often, the people said. The campaign, developed by Facebook's in-house ad studio called The Factory, will incorporate clips of live videos posted by the social network's users to explain how the feature works. The idea is to "show people what's possible" on Live, one of the people familiar with the campaign said.
Facebook rarely advertises on TV. Its last campaign took place last year.
The new ads underscore the importance of live video to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's effort to refashion the social network into a "video-first" company.
It isn't clear how much Facebook plans to spend on the ad campaign or when it will begin.
The Factory is run by Scott Trattner, a former Apple ad executive who worked on some of that company's major campaigns, including those for the iPod and iPhone.
With Live, Facebook allows its users to broadcast their lives with a tap of a button. To ensure a steady flow of live videos after launch, Facebook agreed to pay more than $50 million to 140 publishers and public figures to broadcast live, The Wall Street Journal reported in June.
Users are automatically notified when a friend or publisher they follow goes live and those videos appear higher in their news feeds while they are broadcast.
Live videos also have thrust Facebook into controversy. Facebook briefly removed, then restored, video from a Minnesota woman showing her boyfriend, Philando Castile, dying after being shot by a police officer. It also aired videos of the fatal shooting of Dallas police officers and a French terrorist holding a child hostage.
Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com