New Feature Roundup: Facebook’s Latest Live Video Updates

Written by Laura Roeder

On April 12, 2016

Within just a few weeks of Facebook hinting that you should share more live video, BuzzFeed raised the bar on broadcasting by blowing up a fruit.

On April 8, the site’s Facebook page shared a live broadcast of two staffers wrapping rubber bands around a watermelon – 600-some bands, 45 minutes, and more than 5 million hits later, they’d succeeded.

The stunt made “watermelon” trend on Twitter, attracted enough workday viewers to potentially cost the economy millions, and sent other media outlets into a feverish spiral of resentment and mockery – evidenced perfectly by the poetic sadness of a Fortune Magazine editor repeatedly stapling an orange for an audience of more than a thousand viewers.

Orange Staples

Facebook has paid media companies like BuzzFeed to spark popularity in live video simply by using it, and the watermelon escapade goes to show that it’s been money well spent – and that live video is about to get a whole lot bigger.

In the week leading up to BuzzFeed’s wanton act of fruitality, Facebook announced a ton of new features for its live video service – ones that will change how it looks and feels for both broadcasters like you and viewers all over the world.

What’s new? What’s different? And what do you need to know about Facebook’s increasingly robust live video tools?

Here’s the full roundup of recent changes:

What’s new for broadcasters

Facebook’s rollout of live video actually started in 2015, and their expansion recently went even wider with the new ability to broadcast from both Groups and Events.

Now, any Facebook Group or Event can broadcast a live video.

By doing so, you can even tailor your audience based on your method of broadcasting – share a live video as a Group, for example, and you can make sure that only people belonging to that Group are able to see it. (Perfect for pros like coaches who offer membership to closed Groups to their clients.)

Facebook also recently introduced a slew of new performance metrics that broadcasters can access, so you can see data that was previously unavailable. Now you’re able to see stats such as the number of concurrent viewers you had at various points in your broadcast, how many viewers stayed until the end, and how many of your views were repeat visitors.

(This is how BuzzFeed knows their watermelon video peaked at 807,000 concurrent viewers – a bigger audience than HBO has ever had for an episode of “Vinyl.”)

You’ll even be able to tinker with your visuals live using real-time filters, and a tool that allows you to draw on the video screen à la Snapchat. Along with those updates, though, Facebook has done a lot to make finding and watching live video a more rewarding experience for users – and if you haven’t decided that live video is worth your time just yet, these new features are about to change your mind.

What’s new for users

First, Facebook is encouraging users to seek out live video with new discovery tools.

Mobile users will soon be able to search specifically for video, allowing them to discover new live options in a YouTube-like interface. On desktop, they’ll be able to use Facebook’s new Live Map feature to see where broadcasts are taking place around the world, so they can look for and watch videos being shared in certain areas.

Live Map

Facebook is also giving users new ways to interact with live video, too. (We told you they announced a lot of changes!)

Users can now invite their friends to watch broadcasts with them, for example. They’ll also be able to use reactions on live broadcasts and see them show up in real time for both other viewers and the broadcaster.

Facebook is even increasing the incentive for viewers and broadcasters to comment on live broadcasts – their comments will now replay alongside the video for anyone watching it after.

(So watch your mouth, okay?)

Do It Live

Live videos already boast 10 times more comments than pre-recorded ones – now that they’re being saved and replayed as part of the video, people who tune in after the broadcast has ended won’t miss a thing.

(Don’t believe that replays of live video matter? BuzzFeed’s watermelon snuff film doubled its views within three days of its initial broadcast.)

This is just the beginning for live video

All in all, Facebook has done a lot to make live video more appealing and accessible for users and would-be broadcasters – and all these changes launched over the course of just two days!

Facebook is sending a clear message: live video should be a priority. Click to Tweet

With more major updates sure to come soon – especially in the aftermath of BuzzFeed’s viral slaughtermelon success – this is one feature you should start thinking about a lot more seriously if you want to use it to its full potential!

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