Once a week, author Giovanna Fletcher beckons millions of fans into her book-laden study to talk about her baby boys, Buzz and Buddy, husband Tom, and take questions from the tuned-in turnout. Facebook Live broadcasts her vlogs in real time, allowing adoring fans to soak in her warm personality, react to her thoughts, and feel intimately involved with (and in some ways, in control of) her content.
Giovanna (or, Gi as her fans know her!) is just one vlogger to entertain the masses on Facebook Live. Even vloggers that criticise Facebook’s approach to video, such as Casey Neistat, decided to give it a try: “How do I Tweet to tell people I’m live on Facebook? NO SOUND?? Someone tell me if you can hear me!” We can hear you Casey!
Brands were quick to experiment too. Airbnb broadcast celeb interviews live from the Disney Premiere of the Lion King. BuzzFeed decided to see how many rubber bands it could stretch over a watermelon before it exploded, and found the tense narrative captivated its audience for 40 whole minutes! More recently, Grazia allowed its readers to shape an issue of the lifestyle mag by hosting themed debates and discussion groups.
Why Do We Need Live When Facebook Video Works So Well?
Users on Facebook the mobile app and browser consume 100 million hours of video every day. However, Facebook analytics counts one view of a normal video as a view with a three second dwell time. As the engagement stats stack up, brands are left scratching their heads over low ROI. In reality, users are lingering, liking or dismissing, and scrolling on, all in under three seconds. What impact or engagement does that content really have?
That’s a toughie.
eConsultancy found the most effective video length was one and a half minutes and similarly, all our branded videos run at two-minutes or shorter. With that in mind, three seconds is a curt measurement when deciphering if content has been successful. If Facebook is truly misleading marketers over engagement, the industry needs a more reliable method of publishing video on the platform to properly measure the interaction and engagement of their audience.
Why Should Marketers Test Live?
Facebook suggests that users spend three times longer watching a Live video. Not only that, but the content generates ten times more comments. According to Facebook, Live content is prioritised in the Newsfeed by its latest algorithm. It’s news that’ll spark joy for dissatisfied marketers, tearing their hair out over low ROI, large production overheads and a hefty paid promotion strategy.
The format is exciting, but as always publishing any old rope and expecting it to get rave reviews is unrealistic. Live streaming from the office is only ever acceptable if dog arrives unexpectedly, or if the situation offers something unique and has a compelling narrative. Prime opportunities include events, speaking opportunities and conferences where the audience has a desire to attend, or learn. Replace the Meerkat and Periscope experience with Facebook Live and compare performance.
But remember, live content is like any other branded content and should be planned. Thorough rehearsal will make your ‘stars’ more comfortable chatting on camera, and be able to take live questions in their stride. You could even use some scripting and blocking to give offer structure and comfort zones. Investing prep time will help you create a more compelling and cringe-free experience, because once it’s out there, there’s no turning back. The format is fast and unforgiving, so have a plan and channel the ‘fear’ of going live into creating something great.
Live offers a great opportunity to claw back camera crew costs, too. Take Gi and Casey as examples of Facebook Live’s own brand of substance over style. It’s their personality, values and honesty that the audience care about, not that it was filmed on a mobile phone or a web cam. What more do you need?
Finally, Live can be promoted following broadcast. If, for example, your audience are on the other side of the world, you can push the feed to them in waking hours and no one misses out on your messaging.