Facebook Live Up Close and Personal

Facebook made a huge push into live streaming over the past year and has even been actively advertising and promoting its offering directly through television and its own social network since launch.


So, how's it going? Well, that depends greatly on how consumers use their available live opportunity. In many instances, they use it rather poorly.



Despite the human proclivity for a bad case of the stupids now and again, there is a great deal of potential in live video when you approach the format the right (productive) way but you'll need to do that in a dynamic and fast-moving landscape.


Facebook initially brought on news groups including the New York Times, CNN and Buzz Feed to produce video, and they have done quite well in many regards, but right now these publishers apparently do not expect Facebook to re-up the live streaming deals (estimated to be several million dollars each) that propelled the launch of Facebook Live; instead, the social network is looking to cultivate "longer, premium video content."


The reason? Video news just isn't as popular as Facebook needed it to be. Respondents to a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism report, in fact, indicated that pre-roll advertising, long loading times and the comparative ease of reading articles were all barriers to live video. And data analytics company Parse.ly published a report showing that consumers spend 30 percent less engaged time with online video posts as they do with the average long-form and short-form text posts.


Just because video news (the most common type of live video) isn't popular with consumers, doesn't mean that other formats won't. That's where you enter the virtual room. There are opportunities for enterprises to promote their offering, be it a physical product or digital information, in creative, measurable, and profitable ways through live video. Let's take a look at a few brands that have already engaged in Live streaming that will perhaps inspire your own ideas for sharing on Facebook Live in the form of "longer, premium video content."


One of the first to test the Live waters, the brand explored its "test kitchen" for viewers, showing how it creates new products and creations, ending with a finale that involved the creation of a donut-themed wedding cake. The sound was terrible and the quality pretty low overall, but it racked up 40,000 views at the time, and was considered by many to be an inspiration for their own Live efforts.


Tough Mudder live-streamed a training event with and explored what it took to run through the endurance event. The video provides several references to the event's descriptions, as well as short promotions of Tough Mudder training programs and other materials, blending real content and brand promotion effortlessly, effectively, and expertly.


One of the more prolific live streamers today is that of Tastemade, a network that offers food and travel related programming for online audiences. Live plays to the expertise of such brands and Tastemade has made good use of the opportunity, with its wildly popular Tiny Kitchen video series which led the brand to publish live numerous times over the past year


The organization produces many videos but the one that got the social media network buzzing was when they walk puppies around New York City to promote their October adoption event.


One of the most common formats people have been using Facebook Live is AMAs (or Ask Me Anythings) with special guests that people might not otherwise be able to interact with. This technique attracts a large amount of people who wish to take advantage of the once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity. It also helps prolong the amount of user watch time, since users stick around to see if their question is picked.


Facebook Live has its problems and brands should not expect to get paid from the development of Live video streaming, but it can provide a powerful way to communicate and engage with your audience, and all while using Facebook's infrastructure to do it.