Facebook Live and Facebook Video are two of the most pivotal segments of Facebook’s continuously growing suite of services. As such, they’ve seen dramatic development and evolution in the last few years as brands and publishers have found new ways to use the platform, tools, and format. Though publishers and brands have somewhat singular approaches, there’s some common ground between the two, and by looking at some of the most successful examples of Facebook Live and Facebook Video, we start to get a handle on some best practices for each.
In December of 2016, the New York Times passed 100 million views on Facebook Live. It’s a huge milestone, considering Facebook Live just launched in August 2015. Since its launch, brands, publishers, and influencers have been building partnerships, creating live broadcasts around unique events, and found new ways and opportunities to engage with an audience that grows more and more invested in content that lives in the moment.
But it isn’t just Live — audiences have shown a clear preference for sharing video on Facebook, which creates an incredible opportunity for publishers and brands. With the power of Facebook’s network in mind, let’s look at some of the top examples for video from brands and publishers on Facebook.
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Brands on Facebook is nothing new, but they’re finding ways to leverage Live and Video formats with increasing frequency and success. One of the primary ways that brands engage audiences through video is by teaming up with influencers and celebrities. But brands have also been known to strike out on their own and make their own content for Facebook audiences.
For example, in a partnership with Kohl’s, popular vlogger ItsJudyTime created an enormously popular video centered around Black Friday. In the video, Judy and her mother covered their haul from Black Friday shopping and talked about the convenience of getting all of their Christmas shopping done at a single store (Kohl’s).
It isn’t just live, either. Brands have found a lot of success creating videos with influencers and celebrities that live on their pages. From ads for Hefty with John Cena to a costume tutorial with “Edna” from The Incredibles for Party City, and from a video journal from Shay Mitchell documenting her “Shaycation” for Hawaiian Tropic to It’sJudyTime’s video covering her Black Friday shopping haul for Kohl’s, there are dozens of different ways in which brands can move their messaging to video on Facebook.
Brands using Facebook Video and Facebook Live would do well to remember one thing: To make their videos shareable. Whether they’re creating live tours or partnering with notable names, it’s important that brands keep in mind that Facebook has become a hub for sharing videos, which means that the key to success is making messaging worth sharing.
Some of the most avid users of Facebook’s video offerings are publishers. Because they often create video content as a part of the burgeoning digital content landscape, Facebook provides a new avenue for publishers like the New York Times, BuzzFeed, WIRED, and more to share and promote the video content that they create.
Publishers have also been one of the driving forces behind the evolution of Facebook Live. As they’ve figured out how to capture interest, broadcast events, and encourage engagement from viewers, publishers using Facebook Live have created a new kind of content that Facebook users tune in for in droves.
BuzzFeed makes watermelons explode. The New York Times broadcasts live interviews and concerts. Wired lets viewers tune in for a live tutorial on how to make the perfect cup of pour over coffee.
Publishers are doing big things in Facebook Video and Facebook Live. Similar to the rule of thumb for brands, it’s key that publishers make video content on Facebook that’s compelling enough to share. But for the most part, publishers are used to that — after all, success in the publishing industry is more or less based on the degree to which your creation travels through some type of sharing. But the key component of publishers’ video creations on Facebook has more to do with the Live side of their endeavors.
Publishers are likely finding that the best way to approach Live content is to find something that’s happening now. When content feels unique, urgent, and present, Facebook viewers seem happy to tune in to watch the events unfold. Even if it’s somewhat scripted, there’s something about the spontaneous and un-plannable, and un-editable nature of a Live video that tends to get viewers interested and engaged with the content.
The way in which brands and publishers use Facebook Live and Facebook Video may not be identical, but there’s certainly some overlap, and with overlap comes an opportunity for collaboration. While brands do plenty of video work with influencers and celebrities creating ads or product placement posts, they also partner with publishers to bring a different kind of content to Facebook viewers.
In teaming up with publishers, brands have an opportunity to tap engaged and diverse audiences. A publication’s readership is likely less narrow than an influencer’s following, which means that while the impact is less targeted, it opens up opportunities for reaching more viewers across different demographics.
For example, Subaru partnered with BuzzFeed Animals for a puppy livestream as part of their #MakeADogsDayCampaign. Smartwater partnered with Refinery29 to bring a video about yoga poses to the latter’s large Facebook following. And Coors Light sponsored a captivating video from Uproxx about Martin Strel, who a man who swims in the most dangerous rivers on the planet.
Just as brands and publishers have been working together for ages to reach readers and viewers in print and online, they’re teaming up on Facebook to create a synergistic approach to digital content. By finding common ground between compelling content and brand messaging, publishers are finding new avenues for all-important ad revenue and brands are discovering new methods of connecting and engaging with audiences.