Facebook has been pushing live video for most of 2016 – from giving broadcasts preferential placement in the News Feed to paying media companies to experiment with the new feature, they’ve made it clear that it’s a big priority.
But Facebook isn’t stopping there!
Now the social network is introducing even more updates to its live video feature – ones that will give you more incentive than ever to fire up your camera and get ready for your closeup.
So – what’s new and different in Facebook live video?
You can control your audience
Ever have an idea for a live video broadcast that isn’t necessarily relevant for your entire audience?
Maybe it’s an idea that would only be interesting for people of a certain age, or living in a certain place. If you’re a travel blogger, for example, a live video of tourism tips for Americans visiting the UK is only going to be interesting to a certain segment of your audience.
What do you do? If you keep doing live broadcasts that only matter to some of your followers, you could alienate or annoy the rest of them – how do you make sure your live video is being seen by the right people?
Now, Facebook is introducing tools that limit the audience of your live broadcasts. You’ll be able to choose who sees your videos based on demographic details like age, gender, and location, so you can share them with the people they’ll matter to most – and avoid bothering anyone who wouldn’t be as likely to tune in.
You can also control how people interact with your live broadcasts.
Sometimes, seeing live comments and reactions from viewers alongside a broadcast makes the whole thing feel more interactive and exciting – but other times, it might feel inappropriate.
(If you’re sharing a live video that deals with a sensitive subject, for example, it might be distracting to see cartoon faces and commentary from the peanut gallery all over the screen.)
That’s why Facebook is now giving broadcasters the ability to hide comments and reactions on live video, de-cluttering the screen for your viewers (and making it easier to ignore the occasional troll).
Facebook isn’t just giving you new tools for managing your audience, though – they’re also giving you more options for what you broadcast in the first place!
Facebook live videos are getting a LOT longer
Live videos on Facebook used to be limited to just a few hours, but now they’re getting longer…a LOT longer.
As in, your live broadcast can go on FOREVER.
Facebook is making it so that your live broadcast technically never has to end.
What kind of video would last that long?
Maybe you want to throw up a live feed of the world around you, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s jellyfish cam.
Maybe you want to set up a camera in your home office and turn your life into a 24/7 online reality show starring you and your pet parakeet! Point is, now you can do it.
(With a few lil’ restrictions, anyway.)
While a continuous live video doesn’t have to end, Facebook won’t send notifications to your followers about it like they would for a normal-length one. Plus, when you eventually DO end the broadcast, it won’t be published to your timeline for people to watch at a later date – another feature limited to shorter live broadcasts.
If you want those features, you’ll have to keep your live broadcast within a certain time limit – fortunately, Facebook is making that easier, too.
Facebook is doubling the length of live videos from 2 hours to 4 hours.
Now you can broadcast live for a whole lot longer, and still reap benefits like sending notifications to your followers and saving the video on your page after you finish.
(So you can go ahead and resume planning your one-person dramatic live read of the entire Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers script.)
What you do with all these hours is up to you – but you’re a lot less limited by time constraints on Facebook live than you used to be!
But what should you broadcast, anyway?
Facebook has already started rolling out these new live video features, which may leave you wondering: what the heck should I be broadcasting in the first place?
To get started, take a look at our beginner’s guide to webcasting, so you can see how marketers have used other broadcasting tools like Periscope to get their messages out.
Then, check out Facebook’s tips for setting up your first live broadcast – this page also has plenty of examples you can watch, too, so you can get a feel for it!
Got any experiences of your own to share? How’s your luck been hosting live video on Facebook? Share your thoughts in the comments below!