Facebook Video Extravaganza: Messenger, Instagarm, Live, Events & More
Facebook has released a bumper set of new video features as it orientates its product roadmap around interactive video experiences.
The headline-grabbing part of this vast product update is the Zoom and Houseparty cloning video streaming capabilities within Messenger and beyond. See new Messenger Rooms in above image.
However, at least for launch, few of these have a direct marketing application.
Most are not available to Pages, and there are currently no supporting ad features around any as yet. In further bad news, for marketing purposes, all will pull eyeballs and attention out of News Feeds and Stories into areas where marketing cannot yet access, diluting organic reach for Pages and potentially driving up ad costs.
Although on a more positive note, buried away within the product release, there are actually several useful updates for brand building, marketing and communications purposes.
Most notably around Facebook Live, Events, fund-raising and influencer activity.
Product Dev Booms While Revenue Goes South
While COVID-19 will inevitably hurt Facebook’s bottom line and share price, it is serving as a highly effective catalyst for product development and the remoulding of user behaviour.
In March 2019, Mark Zuckerberg outlined a new future for his empire, built around “privacy”, messaging and social interaction – over news feeds and mindless scrolling. With a global pandemic locking down around 2.5billion people, surging usage is leading to an acceleration of that product roadmap.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, via The Verge
“Video presence isn’t a new area for us. But it’s an area that we want to go deeper in, and it fits the overall theme, which is that we’re shifting more resources in the company to focus on private communication and private social platforms, rather than just the traditional broader ones.
So this is a good mix: we’re building tools into Facebook and Instagram that are helping people find smaller groups of people to then go have more intimate connections with, and be able to have private sessions with.”
Zuckerberg announced last week that Messenger and WhatsApp now see 700 million people using audio and video calls each day, while Facebook and Instagram Live videos now reach 800 million people per day.
Even More New Features For Facebook Live
Following on from recent improvements to Facebook Live, Facebook is bringing back “Live With”, which was removed in December last year.
Live With is a built-in co-broadcasting feature for Facebook Live that lets you invite another person into your live broadcast and stream to an audience. With this feature, you can bring on a guest speaker, interview an expert, or perform with a fellow artist, among other use cases.
As the host, you can select a guest to go Live With during a mobile live broadcast from your Page or profile.
Note, while Pages can go Live With a profile, they cannot add another Page to their live stream. An annoying feature for marketers, but hopefully something which can be rectifed in time, or at least fall under Branded Content opportunities.
The host can add or remove their guest from the live broadcast at any time. Similarly, guests can remove themselves from the live broadcast at any time.
On a related note, Instagram Live is now available on desktop.
Instagrammers can interact and comment from desktop, handy for gym’s doing fitness classes, for example. After you go live, you’ll soon be able to save your videos to IGTV, so they stick around longer than the 24-hour limit in Stories and are easier for others to find.
Facebook Events Are Coming Back Online
Due to social distancing measures, Facebook explained a few weeks ago how it had redeployed its Events product team to work on Live video style experiences.
As part of the recent video release, Facebook has announced that you will shortly be able to mark Facebook Events as online only and, in the coming weeks, integrate Facebook Live so you can broadcast to your guests.
To support creators and small businesses, Facebook plans to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.
Similarly, in the not-for-profit space, you can now add the donate button to Live videos wherever nonprofit fundraisers are available.
Lastly, for influencers (or Creators as Facebook prefers) it is expanding its Stars feature to more Pages and more countries, whereby users can send Stars to creators while they are streaming and they’ll earn 1 cent for every Star.
All in all, Friday's announcement is perhaps one of Facebook’s biggest ever single product updates.
Whatever happens post COVID-19, the new “normal” with social media marketing will look very different from what it was at the beginning of 2020.