Yesterday, Facebook announced a few new features to their Facebook Live function. Starting soon, the platform will allow for two-person broadcasts (meaning two people in different locations will be able to broadcast at the same time). Also, users will be able to pre-schedule their broadcasts and have a virtual waiting room for attendees.
Facebook began testing their live function in early 2016, but recent moves show the company has big plans for the feature. They are by no means the first established platform to test the waters for live streaming. YouTube and Twitter have had the function for a while. However, Facebook does seem to be putting far more effort into making their live feature successful.
What Does It Mean for Live Video Platforms like Blab, Periscope?
Recently, Facebook signed a deal to pay companies and celebrities, like Buzzfeed, CNN, and Gordan Ramsey, for using the platform.
We have already seen Facebook Live feeds rank really well compared to organic and even boosted posts on Facebook.
These moves make it clear that Facebook is doing everything in its power to draw brands and audiences away from using live streaming video platforms like Blab and Periscope.
Does this mean the end for platforms that only offer live video? Will Facebook be able to provide the same level of service and community that platforms like Blab and Periscope are known for, or will live feeds get lost among cat videos and baby pictures?
Only time will tell. It does seem likely that Facebook has a good chance at success if they put their considerable weight behind this features. However, audiences might prefer the simplicity of video-only platforms.
Where is the Money?
The next logical question is how will Facebook monetize this feature? It seems unlikely they are putting so much effort (and money – millions in some cases) just to get a few more ad impressions.
There are a few ways this could go – they could start limited the reach of live streams, forcing brands to pay for reach, much like organic posts. They could also keep the function free, but allow brands to charge attendance fees and take a cut. Facebook could also embed ads into live feeds, either at the bottom or before, during, and after in replays.
Have you tried Facebook Live?
At SEJ, we recently live streamed our “Ask Me Anything” panel from SEJ Summit to mixed reviews. We discovered the live panel format was not ideal for live streaming, at least not without an external microphone. The reach was decent, showing 1,300 views less than 24 hours after live stream. Which is just 1 percent of our fan base, but is better than .05% of reach we get for some organic posts. Definitely no magic bullet, but not too bad.
The reach was decent, showing 1,300 views and 12,500 people reached less than 24 hours after live stream. Which means 1 percent of our fan base watched the video and we reached a total of 8% of our fans. No magic bullet, but it is better than .05% reach we get for some organic posts.
Here is a screen shot of our stats as of 1:22 pm on June 24th.
If you have tried Facebook live, I would love to hear your thoughts on the applications of these new features. I can imagine it allowing webinar-type broadcasts, which could be interesting.
Featured Image: Deposit Photos | Used with permission
In-Post Image: Screenshot taken by author 6/24/2016.