What Should You Know About Facebook Live?

In the past several months, live video streaming has exploded, and it is changing how people and brands interact with each other and how we consume online content. Video content is fast-growing, however, a recent report found that the growth of live video is outpacing all other types by 113%.

Years ago, live broadcast was reserved for news outlets and television. Today, everything from presidential debates to comedy sketches are going live through social media.

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, is of course leading the way with their Live video. More Facebook users and brands are taking advantage of the feature and broadcasting their own live footage.

However, Facebook Live still feels new to many. The feature was released in 2015, but only to a select group of celebrities and users through Mentions. It was just released to the public last year, but the number interacting with it has grown rapidly. 

If you haven’t used Facebook Live for your business yet, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about or even what it is and does.

When it was released, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world.”

You can probably imagine how that could have some serious benefits for brands on the social network. If not, here are a few statistics to help make the advantages more clear:

● Facebook Live videos get 10 times more comments than other videos.

● 78% of Internet users are watching video on Facebook Live.

● On average, people view a video more than 3 times longer when it is live versus pre-recorded.

● People watch over 100 million hours of videos on Facebook every day.

● Over 20% of Facebook users watch live video.

Of course, Facebook’s 1.86 billion active users have played a huge role in its quick growth. However, the live streaming platform offers several benefits to brands that use it in their marketing.

They are ranked higher in the News Feed.

Live videos have a higher organic reach than many other types of content. Facebook treats Live videos as a separate category from normal videos. It has also updated its News Feed algorithm, so that Facebook Live videos are higher in the News Feed when they are broadcasting. Once the live feed ends though, it is considered a regular video and is categorized accordingly.

Users are notified when you are broadcasting live.

In addition to adjusting the News Feed ranking, Facebook promoted the use and viewing of Live videos by notifying users when a page or person they are connected to is broadcasting live. This can increase viewership and attract people that are the most likely to be interested and engage with your video.

Engagement is higher during live videos.

Although reports have shown that two-thirds of views happen after a video is live, the engagement is often highest during the live broadcast. This is because they are designed for interaction. You can see how many people are streaming the video, while viewers can react and comment in real-time.

Engagement tends to be higher, however, you should still follow some best practices. For instance, let your followers know when you’ll be going live before it happens, use a catchy headline and interact with comments as they are posted.

To tap into the benefits of Facebook Live videos, you should know a few of the top features first.

1. Record from different devices.

When it was first released, Facebook Live videos could only be captured using a smartphone. Recently, Facebook has unveiled more options. Now, you can stream from a professional camera, your game console, even a drone.

These added options give brands more control of their video quality, which is vital. According to Livestream, 90% of people believe video quality is the most important aspect of Facebook Live videos.

2. Discover Live videos with the map.

Users can discover live feeds streaming from different parts of the world by using Facebook’s Live Map. The map shows the public broadcasts that are happening at the moment, so you can browse by areas that interest you. Since Facebook Live is now available to over 60 countries in the world, there should be no shortage of content to stream.

3. Monitor and track Live Reactions.

Facebook’s Live Reactions are similar to their competitor Periscope’s Hearts feature. Viewers can share their feelings about and during a live broadcast using emojis to express. Some examples are Love, Angry, Like, Shock and Haha. Brands can also track the reactions for Live videos to gauge how their audience felt about it.

Live Reactions also offers a unique advantage to users that view the video after it has gone live. Viewers can see at which points in the timeline the engagement was the highest, which may be signal which parts in the clip are worth watching. Instead of watch completely from beginning to end, they can skip around to the good parts.

4. Apply Filters and Masks

Facebook has released a set of five filters that can be used with Live videos. It has also announced that it will give users the ability to doodle and draw on Live videos in the near future.

Last Halloween, Facebook rolled out spooky masks for the occasion. These masks, which were strikingly similar to Snapchat’s Lenses, turned people’s faces into pumpkins, skulls and other Halloween-themed creatures. Masks may be Facebook’s effort to get more individuals to record live, but both could inspire some to record creative Live videos.

5. Customize your viewing audience.

Brands can post Live videos straight from their Page or to a specific Event or Group. This can allow you to record to a very specific audience and may increase the level of engagement as a result. You can also control who views a video by adjusting the customization and control settings after a broadcast. If you don’t want the video to be searchable, you can create a direct link to share with a select group of people.

To create your own Facebook Live videos, all you need is a smartphone, the Facebook mobile app and a strong Internet connection. Up to four hours of footage can be recorded on Live video, however, you probably don’t want to record that much.

Live coverage of news and major events like the Women’s March on Washington may have a longer video length. For brands, start smaller. Facebook suggests that Live videos be over 10 minutes. Longer videos give viewers more time to engage.

Plan out what types of Live videos would be most valuable, interesting and relevant for your audience. Even though Facebook Live videos are recorded and shared in real-time, it doesn’t mean that preparation isn’t necessary. Remember, it is Live video, so anything can happen. Planning ahead can help you make sure that what you want to happen does. For instance, you can increase your chances of having a bigger viewing audience during broadcast. Facebook recommends that brands tell their followers when they plan to go live before it happens.

Still have questions about Facebook Live? Want to know more about how it can help you grow your business and connect with customers? Contact the 10twelve team to learn more.