News | 10/05/2017

Facebook Live one year on – pros and cons for brands

Posted by James Dempster

There is no doubt that Facebook Live, Periscope and live streaming via social media is going to change the way both brands and individuals communicate. Almost every social media platform either has a streaming service or is planning to reveal one this year.

The live streaming battle is heating up, but let’s take a step back. Like any channel, it is open to both the good and the bad. Thanks to a live streaming partnership between Facebook and ABC News, 28 million users watched Trump and Clinton fight it out on stage during their first debate. However, highlights like this have been offset by what can only be described as harrowing video scenes since the start of 2017 alone.

We’re too quick to point the finger at technology. First we blamed computer games, then we blamed Facebook and now we’re moving on to blame Facebook Live. We should all remind ourselves there are nutters out there who will use technology to propagate their insanity and gain notoriety. Yes, Facebook should take control by using its profits to expand its security and compliance teams to deal with these issues more effectively, but they shouldn’t take 100% of the blame.

What’s in it for brands?

For brands, Facebook is a vital lifeline for revenue and business growth. With 42 million users in the UK alone, any new Facebook tool that can increase paid and organic reach can’t be ignored.

With that in mind, here’s my list of headline pros and cons for brands:


· SMEs can compete with larger brands via Q&A sessions and product launches, for a fraction of the price
· The video stays on your feed so visitors can view your clips again when they like
· Live feedback insights can drive better decision-making and improve future ROI
· Engagement – 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week
· Cheap and accessible point of entry – just get your mobile phone out and you’re away
· From 2012 to 2014, mobile video views have increased by 400%


· Negative publicity
· Open to abuse and trolls
· Technical issues early on
· Anything can happen during a live broadcast!

The role of video in today’s marketing mix

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B content marketers prioritised creating more engaging content in 2016, and 55% planned to do this using visual content. It’s predicted that video content will represent 74% of all online traffic this year, and 4x as many customers prefer to watch a product video rather than read about it.

In terms of making money, the truth is that it’s too early to drill down into numbers. Some reckon that Facebook Live will be as important as TV for big budget advertisements, but the same benefits can also raise the games of SMEs, too. We know that Facebook advertising is by far the most effective social advertising at the moment. This is primarily due to the plethora of demographic profiling – targeted by age, gender and location is old hat. The platform enables you to target based on bands audiences like, their political views, the device they use and lifestyle.

Personally, I believe that Facebook Live will provide the next level in engagement. ‘People that have engaged with Facebook Live’ will become a staple metric upon which to measure success. Digital marketing teams like Cobb Digital will be on the front line of this new digital wave, and we’re excited to get stuck in.

Get in touch with our team to discuss your social media strategy.