There are so many ad product launches that it can be hard not to treat all of them with a jaded indifference, however to ignore the latest move by Facebook to launch live video would be a mistake.
Facebook’s move into live video is being pursued ferociously, with Zuckerberg personally redirecting Facebook’s resources to get the format up and running. Uncharacteristically Facebook has even been willing to pay producers to broadcast on Facebook live, absorbing some of the risk of content production that it has so far avoided. Facebook isn’t the only media company moving towards video: Buzzfeed, Vice and Mashable are an example of other online media empires currently pivoting to the moving image and now the industry’s biggest player is following suit.
Indeed the fact that the world’s largest social media company is shifting to live video so vigorously is in itself a good reason for advertisers to take this seriously. Some early adopters have already generated some impressive audiences using the platform, a Buzzfeed live video featured two of its employees wrapping a watermelon with rubber bands until it exploded attracting 720,000 live viewers and 10 million post broadcast views.
Facebook is able to build this audience with relative ease compared to it’s digital and traditional broadcast competitors because of it’s scale and unique position as a social media platform.
Live video on social platforms is not new, Periscope and Meerkat have proved that live streaming works, but arguably don’t have the historic audience to make it as powerful as Facebook Live threatens to be. They also don’t have the desktop presence that Facebook retains and therefore can’t offer the TV-like clout of the big screen.
The social sharing that Facebook offers is a unique opportunity for live broadcasters, because it allows them to stream content in real time on the very same space people talk to their friends and family anyway creating a virtual living room and making it an ideal place to generate earned conversations around your content. This makes it easier than ever for branded live video to reach a large audience and for audiences to easily engage with their preferred live video content.
For Advertisers this offers a unique opportunity; the immediacy of live content together with social chatter around your brand on the same platform amplifies the affect of both.
Facebook live offers an exciting prospect and its immediacy and accessibility gives it an advantage over TV. But the authority and reach of TV means it remains well respected by audiences and advertisers alike. For some brands the fact you can’t talk back on TV adds to the appeal.