As live streaming grows, Facebook is putting its money on video.
A 2015 study revealed that Facebook video posts had the most reach on the social network, and later that year, Facebook debuted Live—its live-streaming tool.
Now, Facebook is making the tool even more attractive to its users—and to PR and marketing pros wanting to connect with consumers.
On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled new features for Live, bringing fierce competition to Twitter’s Periscope. The features will enable Facebook users to better discover live-streaming videos, as well as share and interact with them. In a company blog post, Facebook wrote:
Since launching Facebook Live last summer to public figures via our Mentions app and more recently to everyone in the US using our iOS and Android apps we’ve been surprised and delighted with how people are using live video to connect and interact with each other all over the world. People are letting their friends discover their hobbies. Parents are using it to share moments in their kids’ lives with their extended families. Athletes are giving people a window into their training. Chefs are bringing their fans into their kitchen. Journalists are hosting global conversations on topics they care about. Aspiring musicians can now put on a live concert for their friends. Many people all over the world are using Facebook Live in many different ways to talk to and interact with the people that matter most to them.
One feature gives Facebook Live broadcasters the opportunity to broadcast to Facebook Groups or in Facebook Events. This could be especially useful for PR and marketing pros running Facebook Groups or a brand manager wanting to share exclusive content to event attendees. Facebook further explained:
Live in Groups allows you to broadcast to just the people in the Facebook Group—so you can go live in your family group, or share a workout plan in a fitness group. Live in Events means you can go live from a birthday party to allow those that can’t make it to join the fun, and a performer can go live backstage to the people who’ve RSVP-ed to the event to give them a sneak peak. You can even use Events to schedule a live Q&A session.
Facebook users can also find livestreams by location through a tab in the Facebook app and a special page on Facebook’s desktop version, as well as interact with livestreams with Facebook Reactions and comments.
“We’ve seen that people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos,” Facebook said. The company continued:
Live Reactions appear in real time and disappear quickly so broadcasters and other viewers can get a sense of how people are feeling at different points during the live video. It’s like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer.
Broadcasters can more easily share videos when they launch a livestream—Facebook now has a feature for users to invite specific friends to watch. Users also have access to new metrics for their videos, including the total number of viewers and the number of viewers while recording.
Though Facebook did not say that the features were available for brand managers, the company rolled out Facebook Live to brand pages in December .
PR and marketing pros can also take advantage of Facebook Live by partnering with influential Facebook users as well as giving fans a peek at what’s happening behind the scenes.
The social network’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said in a Q&A session that “the vast majority of us using [Facebook Live] are not celebrities”:
“People just want to know what their friends are up to,” Cox said.