The Growth of Facebook Live

It’s hard to believe the launch of Facebook Live was only two and a half months ago. The new tool is gaining more and more attention as it makes viral hits and follower engagement easy. Scrolling through my feed for about 10 minutes I’ve come across three live streams including, NPR’s Live Lab taking a closer look at ice, the El Paso Zoo celebrating #NationalGiraffeDay, and Maester Jason Concepcion answering fans questions about Game of Thrones.

It seems like everyone is streaming now. Facebook has even made it easier to search live streams in real time around the world. If I wanted to, I could peek into the lives of people on the other side of the globe. It’s both creepy and really cool at the same time.

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The boundaries of Live have been pushed in only a matter of weeks, taking audiences through underwater excursions and even space. But as everyone in (and out of) the world seems to be jumping onto the Facebook Live craze, the big question becomes: should brands and marketers follow suit? Facebook Executive Nicola Mendelsohn sure thinks so, predicting that in only five years text will be obsolete and Facebook will be all video.

While five years may feel like tomorrow, Mendelsohn does make a point. Viral live videos have already started to emerge, proving huge impressions and engagement is possible. Buzzfeed’s exploding watermelon had over 10 million views, 17 thousand shares, 300 thousand comments and 47 thousand reactions. Chewbacca mom has reportedly made almost $500,000 and now has her own Hasbro action figure. All from one Live video.

The appeal to Live isn’t only its ability to collect impressions and engage, but to reach a massive audience too. Last December, Facebook reported having over 1.5 billion users – that’s ‘billion’ with a “B,” as in Bigger than the population of China.

With all of these potential benefits, you may be thinking, “What’s the catch?” While there hasn’t been many Live viral fails, as of yet, the biggest flub wasn’t by a brand, but by Facebook itself. Last month, Buzzfeed chose Facebook to broadcast a live interview with President Obama. Unfortunately, the platform suffered a bad streaming connection and left viewers forever buffering, forcing Buzzfeed to move the interview to YouTube.

Nonetheless, Facebook Live was only about one month old at the time and had already scored a live interview with the president. At its two and a half month mark today, C-SPAN is using the streaming feature to broadcast a sit-in protest on the floor of the House of US Representatives. While the feature continues to grow, its streaming capabilities have also. So much so, that a Facebook Live morning show is in the works. Are you ready to Rise and Shine with Facebook?

When it comes to social engagement and impressions, I think Facebook Live is definitely worth it. But like all features, it takes practice and experimenting. We are, after all, still trying to understand and master planned videos.

Tweet us @socialdistiller or leave a comment on this blog and let us know if you’ve had success using the tool, and what tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way.

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