This year we watched live coverage of the U.S. inauguration of President Trump, on our smartphones. About 80,000 others were actively watching on Facebook with us. It was a divisive occasion, and this was shown by the stream of love and angry reactions to the event on Facebook, and a comment feed that was just as two-sided.
Beyond the event itself the video left us feeling like we had participated in a truth. This is the best possible thing that news coverage and brands can do for the public, and it's happening for us on our mobiles helping us reach more people in a more engaging way than ever before.
Honesty is the Best Policy
People don't just participate in the truth of a news story, they also participate in the truth of a person and a brand. Facebook Live Video changes social media marketing because it encourages brands to make videos that confirm the truths they've told us before using still media and pre-recordings.
These truths could be about the fair working conditions in a factory, the positive culture of an office, the performance of a shoe on the field, the queues of people waiting to purchase a new product, or the prominence of a brand at an event.
When truths take the form of live videos they feed the community's obsession with raw, spontaneous content. They follow people to their digital hidey-holes on social media, and give them an opportunity to bond with stories through an intimate and immersive portal with lots of interactivity made possible by the network's stream of comments, likes and reactions.
Great Videos Have Emotional Weight
In the quest to produce great content for Facebook Live consider the following emotions: love, angry, sad, and wow. The best performing content on Facebook can easily be categorised under one of these.
We love watching tutorials, we feel angry when we spot an injustice, we are saddened by a loss of life, and we are wowed by the natural beauty of earth.
For publishers going live is sometimes a scary option. Strategy and planning is vital, but it can't insure against realtime obstacles or guarantee success. Brands must embrace the spontaneity, and remember that news and sport do well when they are broadcast live because the outcome is unknown, everything has to be seen to be believed, and suspense is at its peak.
Master this sense of suspense and people will keep coming back for your videos too.
App Updates to Watch Out For
Facebook has made several updates to its existing app as well as creating a new video app, all to help making creating and watching video a major focus. Here are a few major changes that can help you create meaningful connections with your Facebook followers:
1. New video tab
A tab specifically for video will significantly increase the time that users spend watching video in one session by diverting general Facebook browsing, and it will amplify the network's competition with Youtube.
2. Better looking vertical pictures
Better vertical pictures cater to the high number of people who watch video on their phones, and declare the stability of its prominence.
3. Automatic sound for video on mobile devices
Sound used to be turned off by default on mobile devices but no longer. This is good news for advertisers who had produced ads in the past where sound was integral, only to discover it had mostly been scrolled through on mute.
4. Mid-Roll Advertising
Facebook will allow select publishers with enough followers and active viewers to include 20 second ad-breaks in their videos at intervals of at least 2 minutes. Facebook has said it will give creators a 55% share of revenue.
5. Results-Driven Ad Purchases
Advertisers can now choose to pay for ads that have been viewed for a certain duration or until completion. It is an important improvement given that last year so many videos are viewed inattentively for under 3 seconds.
6. Refined Host Preferencing
Advertisers will also get an opportunity to have some control over being broadcast on specific sub-genres of video. This is all to try and resolve big concerns from businesses about the possibility of their ads being shown during inappropriate and questionable videos.
Bonus App For Video Lovers
Facebook officially announced its new Facebook Video app last week, which will be available to download on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Samsung Smart TVs.
For brands and marketers this means that access to Facebook's advanced targeting and over 1.7 billion users will divert attention away from mankind's favourite way to consume stories and information (when they're not on their smartphones): the television.
Many people are doubtful about the app will contend with apps from Google primarily because Facebook is yet to consistently publish long form content that gets brilliant engagement.
Facebook has invested millions of dollars to partner with creators who can deliver this kind of high quality content, so time will tell whether they can make the app worthwhile for publishers.
Ideas to Takeaway
When creating video for Facebook, above all be newsworthy and help people participate in a truth. News is all that Facebook and its users ever asked us to produce for them, and video gives us new and exciting ways to share these stories, so let's not disappoint!