When given the option between the neat, manicured, low-risk pre-recorded video and the ominous, chaotic live broadcast, few brands would even pause to think twice before relaxing into the safety of the editable option.
Since the advent of Facebook Live however, this decision has become less clear cut. There has been a marked shift in the needs of the everyday social media user away from polished, stylised content toward in-situ, personable connections via live streaming. As the CEO of livestreaming platform Blab Shaan Puri quips – ‘Social media used to say: “here’s what I did”. Now it’s “Here’s what I’m doing. Right now. Come do it with me.”’
To Puri’s credit evidence of the live broadcasting trend’s impact is mounting irrefutably. Facebook live is already showing conclusive results of increased interactions, with data showing that viewers comment more than 10x more on Facebook live than on regular videos. As Facebook Live grows, stats like how people spend 3 times longer watching video which is live compared to video which is no longer live are starting to surface, showing the real potential for Live in terms of monetisation and new audience retention techniques.
What content does it work for?
What’s changed and what does this shift mean for the modern video marketer? One answer lays in a growing consumer demand for authenticity. From #nofilter photos to the Dove Beauty campaigns, the need for authenticity and honesty in campaigns is at an all-time high.
This need can be met by humanising, stripped down, behind-the-scenes live video that gives the viewer the impression of the brand being personable, like Dunkin’ Donuts’ behind the scenes Doughnut cookery before ‘National Donut Day’. In this 13-minute video the whole donut production process is shown the the Dunkin Donut HQ kitchen, giving the audience a fun look into the day-to-day of the huge international brand.
Another strong example of how Live cross-genre utilisation is Benefit Cosmetics’ weekly show ‘Tipsy Tricks’. A more traditional approach to live broadcast now cleverly appropriated for the new platform, Tipsy Tricks has a weekly airtime schedule and is structured more like an interactive TV show where presenters field in-situ comments from the audience whilst demonstrating products.
How-tos are an excellent format for Facebook Live as long as presenters can keep an audience interacting and engaged – any dip in energy will be felt tenfold by the viewers.
A final, and by far the most popular, genre of live video remains the one off event or viral-esque stunt. Buzzfeed as ever lead in this field as their wide-scope for content makes them almost entirely unrestricted by what is brand-appropriate, featuring anything from a ten-minute live video of a slightly rotted pumpkin (garnering 500,000 views) to a puppy getting a massage (2.6 million views). Stripped down and very cost/time effective, a combination of the speed of the organic reach of Live video and Facebook’s algorithm favouring the platform over regular video means even a light 10-minute live broadcast can spread a small brand’s name far and wide.
So how stripped down should a live broadcast be? Looking at Buzzfeed’s example, simple is certainly the key. Whether you are live interviewing Barack Obama or putting elastic bands on a watermelon until it explodes, audiences respond best to a conversational, unscripted approach that hasn’t detracted from visual quality. Glossy, well lit video of ramshackle, improvised events looks like in-the-moment, attractive fun; grey and grainy footage of the same content will be quickly scrolled past.
Though Facebook Live has been around for nearly two years, user restrictions and timidity from brands has meant the feature has only really just got going as a consistent marketing tool. As such, the feature has barely begun to explore its vast potential, making predictions particularly hard to narrow down.
In our opinion, Facebook is most like to begin integrating its various video platforms into one interchangeable player. This means the potential for 360 Panoramic, virtual reality live broadcasting is not only possible but very likely! Before long we could be seeing live newscasts from conferences, protests, natural phenomena and all manner of events all around the world, not only showing us what’s happening but letting the user first hand experience changing world events in real time.