In an extremely short amount of time, live video has become inescapable. Everyone from social influencers to celebrities, everyday Internet dwellers, and even politicians are getting in on the action.
Nearly every major social platform now allows its users to broadcast the latest updates to their world as it is happening. Facebook, YouTube, and even Snapchat are all engaged in a heated race to become the alpha for live streaming services. And Facebook just upped the ante.
In a recent blog post announcement, the company revealed a handful of new features that will help to amplify a broadcaster’s social reach.
Let’s check out what the biggest name in social media has cooking.
Scheduling, Sharing, and Lobbies
Per Facebook’s blog update, the social juggernaut has revealed that as of Oct. 18, verified pages will now be able to schedule live streams up to a week in advance, share scheduled broadcasts, and allow attendees to enter pre-broadcast lobbies.
This is major news considering that many live streaming services (including Facebook up to this point) only allow live streamers to notify followers the moment they go on.
This structure to live streaming makes reaching sizable audiences somewhat difficult because they have no notice as to when their favorite broadcaster will go on next. Even if broadcasters do give their potential viewers advanced notice, they have had no link to share with those who are interested.
By introducing the aforementioned features, Facebook effectively boosts the number of potential viewers that a stream will garner and provides a more seamless experience to broadcasting by not having streamers wait around for the first few minutes while people join.
Once broadcasters schedule a stream, a post will be published to the individual’s News Feed. From there, people who see the post can elect to receive a one-time notification shortly before the person goes on air.
Anyone who joins the broadcast up to three minutes before it goes live will be placed in a virtual lobby where they can interact with other attendees while waiting.
And pre-broadcast promotion is not limited to just Facebook, either. In scheduling a live stream, publishers are provided with a sharable link that can be posted to other social networks, embedded in blogs, or other relevant webpages.
These new features could potentially give Facebook the edge over rival streaming services Periscope and YouTube that don’t give users any sort of warning before a live stream takes place.
While the newly integrated elements are only available to verified pages at the moment, Facebook stated that, “We’ll be rolling out scheduling to all Pages on Facebook in the weeks to come. If you use a third-party tool to go live, we’ll soon be making scheduling features available for developers.”
If you are interested in learning how to schedule live streams on Facebook, you can read through the blog update, or download the stylized walkthrough the company created.
While this is all exciting stuff, Facebook still has a couple more tricks up its sleeve.
What’s to Come
Facebook Live has continually been adding features since its inception. Even as the company drops the scheduling bomb, it is still looking to the horizon.
While there hasn’t been much talk about the currently absentee feature, my money would bet that it will materialize sooner than later.
In addition to the dual host capabilities, around the same time that was announced, Facebook took a swing at the rapidly growing Snapchat platform with its acquisition of the MSQRD app, and allowing folks to go live from there.
Now Facebook seeks to take its replication of Snapchat features a step further. At The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox showed off a new feature that the company has in the works for Live.
The yet-to-be-released filter turns the broadcast’s landscape into a visually artistic scene in real-time, much in the same way that Prisma operates.
Mark Zuckerberg later took to Facebook to give his followers a better look at the functionality with a video of his dog, Beast.
If this element seems to be a worthless novelty to you, consider this: Prisma was a hit sensation in 2016 and accrued more than 10 million downloads within a month of its release. Moreover, the app surged to become the 10th most downloaded app in the United Sates, according to App Annie.
Integrating this aesthetically pleasing feature into Facebook Live will surely bring in a flood of new users, and can potentially increase viewership for those who are already broadcasting.
While Cox made no mention of when the artsy element will debut, expect to see it sometime in 2017.
Facebook has made its intentions with live video broadcasting very clear since it was originally introduced. The company has sunk gargantuan sums of money into just getting social celebrities and media outlets to adopt the feature, let alone the unfathomable piles of cash it has thrown at development of the element and its accompanying features. Facebook is all in with live video, and it’s just getting started.