Facebook Live Growing Up Fast

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you reading this have not thought seriously about Facebook Live yet. Live is the real-time video streaming service it rolled out just a few months ago, but it’s already been used to cover both U.S. presidential nomination conventions, document shootings, and try on the Chewbacca mask watched around the world. And now, it’s getting ads.

Facebook Live EverywhereI’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you reading this have not thought seriously about Facebook Live yet.

Live is the real-time video streaming service it rolled out just a few months ago (January 2016), but it’s already been used to cover both U.S. presidential nomination conventions, document shootings, and try on the Chewbacca mask watched around the world.

Next week, Live will probably stream quite a lot of Olympic coverage straight from Rio, perhaps outside of scheduled broadcast hours.

Facebook Live Gets Commercial Breaks

It came out this week via Ad Age that Facebook is testing ads in Facebook Live. The stream hasn’t had those yet. In fact, thus far Facebook has been spending money to get top media partners to use the platform without taking steps to monetize it. (Which may be why we’ve seen some of the Facebook Live coverage moments mentioned above, but certainly not all of them.) Live ads can only be a higher priority now that Newsfeed ads are close to selling out (which Heather Fletcher reported on earlier this week).

These ads are in the hands of the media partners. Live video creators can insert the ads any time after five minutes into the Live stream, and they split the revenue with Facebook.

According to Ad Age, the Live test ads are 15-second commercial breaks during the live stream, what you could call mid-roll ads. They can’t appear earlier than five minutes into the Live stream.

Timing Matters Again

So how does this matter to you? I’m not going to say everyone has to go out and start making Facebook Live broadcasts. You might want to consider it for product demos where you want to include more interactivity, or for marketing events you’d like to show to a wider audience, but it is still pretty unproven as a content marketing channel.

Where I think Facebook Live does deserve more attention is as a live advertising channel. And that’s something digital hasn’t really had much of.

TV and radio advertising are tied to event timing. The Super Bowl only happens during four hours a year, after all.

The whole Facebook Live product takes what Periscope and Meerkat were doing and makes them bigger. Facebook is still one of the largest networks on the Web, and Facebook Live events broadcast by major media partners with millions of their own followers have the potential to be something like broadcast TV in the digital environment.

So I would watch very carefully what’s going on with Facebook Live, because it’s one big event away from becoming the new must-watch TV.

Target Marketing Live

And, if you want to see how a Facebook Live broadcast looks, check out our Facebook page today at 2 PM EST, when Target Marketing is going Live! Watch us pitch our best videos ideas complete with healthy bickering, sassy opinions and a movie quote (or 5). See you then!

Author: Thorin McGee

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

3 thoughts on “Facebook Live Growing Up Fast”

  1. Thorin:
    Great article, yes streaming video has come of age this year, have found that the college sports marketing departments are some of the best early innovators.

    In March was watching a West Point basketball tournament game on CBS Sports Network, as soon as the broadcast was over received a message on my phone to watch the postgame player interviews on periscope. Iona College did the same after their Championship game that week. Later after the NCAA Championship game a conference official I was connected to turned his phone on Periscope or Facebook Live and started to show the post game fun, cutting down the nets et all on the court.

    Tested Periscope for the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade, for which I run the Facebook page. We tested on the street and the speeches at a dinner. Did not use wifi and by the time I got home my phone had 15 data overuse messages. Net was it cost about $250 to stream 45 minutes or so of video. We decided not to stream the parade for the two hours after NBC4 completed their four hours, but it is an option for next year.

    One of the discussion points we have is to focus on next year is Facebook Live or Periscope on Twitter. Is it correct to favor Facebook because most people and organizations have more contacts there? My recommendation to the parade for next year is to do both since we have only one day and the two capabilities despite some overlap reach different audiences. Another example of distributing your content over as many platforms as possible.

    Of course monetizing this by adding ads or captions is another option for those with production resources. This should be a fast growth field.

    Broadcasting events off of smartphones is possible, but relies on a number of fragile elements. As streaming video becomes another production element with the ability to use multiple phones, voice commentary, and available wifi or other connections, this will take off.

    Again some of the best early adaptors and sources of talent in this field are in college athletic departments.
    Best, Ken Kraetzer
    CBSIServices.com
    SALRadio

    1. Thank you, and thank you for sharing that, Ken! I had not thought to look into what college and universities are doing with it. They seem to be places with the perfect conflux of live events, engaged audiences, and really forward thinking, technology-enabled people (students) to innovate.

      I’m surprised you couldn’t jump on local wifi to do the parade broadcast. I bet any telecom sponsor would help set that up.

      1. Yes we looked at this late, literally the week of the parade and tried a test. Interesting perspective is the Parade pays NBC for four hours of air time and production expenses, a well into six figure expense, but when you say you $5K for Facebook, you get strange looks. We did video of 6-7 of the marching bands marching up Fifth Avenue off my phone and direct up linked into the parades’ FB page. One band had 268K page views, on the day we had 1.1 million page views, March had 1.7 million page views for a spend of less than $1,000. Questions we have in planning for next year is do we hire a production company to do the streaming video post NBC? How much do we spend to build audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Looks like a growing business for streaming video production companies. Best, Ken

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