Facebook Leverages Live Platform

In today’s rapid entertainment filled world audiences want more ways to interact with brands, celebrities, and content creators. They want instant gratification and interaction with the people and brands they follow. Live Streaming is one of the more popular ways that people are using to fulfill their needs. The popularity of Live Streaming can easily be seen when you look at how many companies are competing in this market. The list of companies is endless, but the most notable entrants are Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook. Although it may have seemed YouTube had the edge due to its inherent background in videos and loads of content creators who were ready to use their Live platform; Facebook has risen to the top because of its massive user base and businesses who want to use that massive following to bolster their marketing efforts.

In the past few weeks, Facebook has invested heavily in the promotion of Facebook Live. Facebook’s in-house creative team has launched an educational advertising campaign promoting Facebook Live using videos already created by Facebook users, showing how to go live for all of life’s moments on the Facebook Mobile App. Even though the ad campaign is currently being targeted to individual users, Facebook’s large user base is appealing to marketers.

On Oct. 18 Facebook introduced new features to the Live platform such as, “Live Video Scheduling, Scheduled broadcast Sharing, and pre-broadcast lobbies” to verified Pages and will soon roll these out to all Pages in the coming weeks. These updates allow people/brands to schedule and advertise when they will go Live, which will allow their viewers to be ready and watching at the time specified. This is an improvement over creating an Event for a Live broadcast which sometimes left users looking for the correct page where the video would be live and possibly missing part of the broadcast. Facebook also released “Masks” just in time for Halloween; which are exactly like Snapchat Lenses. These lenses allowed Live participants to wear Halloween like Lenses during their broadcasts which gave us a preview of what Facebook plans to do with the Live “lenses” in the future. These new features are being put in place to take Facebook Live to the next level and not only make it easier for those producing live video, but more enjoyable for the viewers.

 Image from Facebook Newsroom

Image from Facebook Newsroom

Although many of these ideas aren’t new nor original Facebook has a large audience that makes them more appealing to marketers. Much like Snapchat these lenses could become sponsored and brands can make custom looks for users. Facebook Reactions may also get an upgrade like they did for Twitter with the sponsored “Stickers”. Facebook tested this feature with different Halloween styled emoji’s on the Reaction menu, which is an appealing feature that could lead not only to seasonally relevant emoji’s, but the potential for branding. These emoji’s will be used as reactions for the live broadcasts and allow more interaction between the viewers and broadcaster. Even without the interactive media, companies can sponsor Facebook Live broadcasts/videos like on YouTube.

Similar to influencer marketing on YouTube and Instagram, there is a huge opportunity for product placement on Facebook Live. When it comes to purchasing decisions consumers are heavily relying on social media for reviews and recommendations. Martha Stewart is a prime example on how a trusted source can boost sales. Martha Stewart was one of the earliest adopters of Facebook Live and quickly gained steady viewership of her Live broadcasts. The gap between celebrity and fan that was shortened by social media, is made even smaller with Facebook Live. Instead of a stagnant post, Live allows for real time interaction whether it’s answering a question about the recipe being performed or Martha's preference to different types of ingredients.  Her Live Broadcasts average between 100k-600k views, 1k-5k likes, and range from 15-60 minutes long. During her Live broadcast, Martha Stewart can recommend what ingredients to use for recipes, and share sponsored products as well as those she keeps in her own kitchen.  Facebook Live has given her a new channel to interact with not only  her existing  fans, but the ability to reach new audiences who increasingly use web based services to consume media rather than more traditional sources.

No matter what your audience size, Facebook Live can be used by anyone to interact with your desired audience. Everyone starts somewhere and Facebook Live could be just the thing for a business or a person who wants to expand their reach. However, one thing is for sure, Facebook Live is here to stay and it’s only going to get bigger as Facebook continues to push for its success.