John F. Marino
Last month, Facebook announced changes to its newsfeed. Live-streamed video content — especially via Facebook Live — is the big winner, and will be a huge part of Facebook’s future.
In the hierarchy of content mediums, video — live or otherwise — is extremely strong on ROIs and conversions. But live streaming adds an additional element to the mix.
Mark Zuckerberg and the other Facebook executives haven’t been shy in touting their massive investment in its branded live video channels — predominantly Live and Create — and most observers agree that the social media giant and its competitors see live video as the next great battlefield.
Advertisers love video because it’s where attention is focused. Half a billion people — an eighth of the world’s population — watch video on Facebook each day and growing. Millennials continue to comprise the demographic watching the most. Social videos generate 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined. By next year, video will account for 80 percent of consumer Internet traffic worldwide. This results in platforms like Facebook retaining the ability to command premium advertising dollars.
Brands love video, thanks to its high conversion rates and increasing importance in buyers’ journeys. Videos on landing pages can improve conversion by more than 80 percent. Almost two-thirds of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded video on a social platform. Logic dictates that more video content is allotted for in marketing budgets which, in turn, will mean increased advertising revenues.
Facebook’s own research concluded that videos created and streamed via Facebook Live spark ten times as much engagement than video produced elsewhere. With those kinds of numbers, Facebook Live streams are going to be prominently displayed on the site, both in and out of consumer newsfeeds.
Live video is already an integral and growing force on the playing field of the future: mobile. Americans watch more than half their video content on mobile devices and they watch live video longer than VOD. Also, increased engagement time equals increased conversion and mobile live-streamed video will be essential in realizing the potential of geo-marketing and personalized “micro-moments.”
There’s a romantic element to live video, a chance to see history made in real-time. The hypothetical experience of watching astronauts land on Mars one day would lose some of its luster for someone watching a recorded video, as compared to experiencing it in the moment along with hundreds of millions of others via Facebook Live. When SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy, users’ Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled up by live streams of the momentous event.
There’s too much future revenue at stake for Facebook not to go all-in on live video. Facebook has reputational skin in the game, and — in the end — live video uniquely fosters engagement and community in a manner consistent with the social media giant’s stated mission. So get ready for plenty of live streaming in your newsfeed.
For agencies and our clients, good, constructive consultation is in order. The production of the highest quality live video isn’t cheap, nor is it cookie-cutter. But the tools to make it happen and have it streamed flawlessly are easily accessible.
We urge our own clients to avoid plans for live streams conceived with only Facebook in mind. Rather, we find it wise to move forward with creative ideas that can be purposed along several pathways of a well-diversified, cross-platform communications strategy.
John F. Marino is chief operating officer and managing director at Marino, a holistic agency that delivers data-driven, fully-integrated strategies focused on amplifying impressions, changing perceptions, driving engagements and fostering high-level relationships to build brands and companies. Marino was named one of the nation’s top PR firms by The Observer in 2017.