Facebook Live, the latest real-time video service, launches new features in the hope of bringing users even closer. But what does the future of Facebook Live hold for your business?
New features of Facebook Live
Launched last year to celebrities and public figures, Facebook is now generously reeling out it’s new live video platform to regular users. The service enables users to find and share clips from friends and celebrities and marks a huge shift into live video streaming. The Live concept, according to Facebook, enables users to use their phone to ‘share a moment instantly with the people you care about’.
Some features of Facebook Live have already proved popular. Reaction emojis which pop up and then quickly disappear in the frame during a broadcast facilitate users sharing their live experiences, comments and reactions in real-time. Facebook’s product management Director explains this as “like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer”. New features of the app enable users to ‘Go live’ in Facebook Groups and Facebook Events. A dedicated tab within the Facebook Live app acts as a prompt to interact live; ‘in the moment’. A location map showing streams around the world also creates a prompt by creating enabling users to see just how many people across the world are using the service.
So why has Facebook Live moved to live-streaming?
Facebook dominates a heavily saturated social market by continuously buying the most successful and current social platforms (Instagram); or at the least mimicking the functionality of them. Doodle and black and white options for videos and talk of filters arriving on Facebook Live soon emulate the ever-popular video trends of Snapchat and Instagram. It’s clear Facebook know they are going somewhere with this. Services like Twitch and YouTube have successfully dominated the live streaming market so far. Zuckerberg affirms ‘’we’re moving toward more immersive experiences online,’’ and that ‘’moving images are more immersive than text.’’ But let’s not forget the motive behind it all for Facebook. Encouraging users to spend as much time as possible – their ‘immersive experiences’ – equate to more time that they’re exposed to ads, and bigger profits for Facebook. Promising the exclusivity and intimacy of real-time video only encourages users to come back, time and again.
Will Facebook Live be a success?
There are technical setbacks with an infrastructure serving millions of streams simultaneously across different devices around the world. Then there are the implications of unedited streaming on how how users interact with Facebook; facilitating their life ‘showreels’ and promoting the best version themselves. How do we feel about publishing our live and unedited selves to our online audiences? Without the ability to preview personal and intimate content, isn’t this just a bit too invasive? Unlike Snapchat content which is deleted once a Snap is read, Facebook Live archives videos so they can be watched later.
Early adopters seem not to be fazed. Facebook data claims that viewers comment “more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than regular ones.” The potential of Facebook’s move to live-streaming is big, too. For larger brands, streaming live sports events and music festivals could reach millions of viewers worldwide. This brings huge advertising opportunities for companies to sponsor an exclusive live event or to stream a celebrity spokesperson using their products.
How can Facebook Live improve your business?
You might be doubtful that Facebook Live will have a vastly substantial impact on your online strategy. But it’s worth considering smaller scale Facebook Live events for your business:
Q&A sessions and workshops
These live sessions could really highlight the best of your business and brand and offer a more interesting take on webinars, especially given that Facebook is a familiar and comfortable environment for many. Facebook Live’s reaction emojis will make your live videos even more engaging and entertaining.
Facebook Live could be a great way to engage your audience on a smaller budget and to help your customers with informative and useful content.
The exclusivity of live-streaming also naturally facilitates behind-the-scenes videos, which can be extremely engaging. This type of footage attracts attention by allowing viewers to feel they are gaining access to unseen territory.
Streaming a live employee interview at work is a great way to showcase your team and could offer viewers a great insight into your brand.
Whilst we will need to wait and see whether Facebook Live overcomes the behavioural dynamics of the platform, there are endless opportunities for companies, brands, news and celebrities to utilise Facebook Live. Don’t rule out Facebook Live for your business. In the not-too-distant future, we may be tuning into Facebook for the most immersive streaming of all.
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