Facebook Adds Live Video

Following a successful limited pilot with verified accounts and public figures, Facebook has announced an expansion of its Live Video feature, which enables users to live stream video to their friends and followers. While it’s not yet available for pages, there are already some takeaways for social change organizations.

For organizations that have yet to utilize live broadcast as an outreach medium, Live Video drastically reduces the barrier to entry since it taps into an established audience. Building an audience on Periscope, Meerkat and other live video portals has proven tricky for many organizations, a challenge Live Video instantaneously solves.

To use the service, users simply update their status, select live video as the update option and begin the stream. Best of all? The videos aren’t transient—following the live stream, the videos appear on people’s newsfeed and timeline just like any traditional piece of content. Live Video has the potential to show real moments in a way few portals can, especially as more people clamor for authenticity.

Friends and followers also receive notifications when a user is live streaming, which adds another level of engagement. When used properly, this feature will enable users to treat organizations’ Facebook pages as a central hub for information and community building.

Live Video’s first real public test will come during the 2016 election. Rand Paul made headlines this year when he live streamed an entire day, which many have dubbed the future of campaigning. Facebook Live Video makes it easier than ever to make this happen and have the content reach an even larger audience through Facebook’s sheer scale.

Facebook Live Video is not without limitations, however. It’s rolling out slowly and is only available to US based users who use an iPhone. It will eventually reach all mobile platforms across the globe, but we expect the rollout to reach pages last and have no real indication of a time frame for expansion, but that doesn’t mean that organizations shouldn’t start preparing now.

It will also be important to watch how Twitter reacts to this announcement. Twitter owns Periscope, arguably the largest player in the nascent live video space, and could move quickly to integrate it into Twitter, which will set up a colossal battle for market position.

The Live Video announcement is something that social change organizations should be monitoring closely as it has the potential to increase reach and engagement exponentially. There’s a chance to show the work done on the ground firsthand, the value of an organization and the faces behind the scenes among many other benefits and opportunities.

We at Fenton are extremely bullish on live video and are eager to see how it unfolds and develops. Stay tuned for coverage as Live Video and the entire live video space as it continues to develop.