6th March 2018

Facebook live brings new hope for publishers

Many publisher's may have found reason to turn away from Facebook Live as the social network stops subsidising broadcasts and cuts publishers’ organic reach. One such publisher is Super Deluxe. During 2017 their live videos averaged half a million views, but this year that number has dropped to around 250,000.

“The minute that Facebook made this announcement [that is would deprioritise publisher’s organic content], our views split in half,” said Cyrus Ghahremani, head of live programming at Super Deluxe.

However, despite this decline, Super Deluxe is one of many publishers who plan to do more with Facebook Live. By the end of 2018 it wants to be producing one brand-sponsored live video every week as despite falling viewing rates, engagement is on the rise and it is engagement they wish to capitalise on.

“Generally speaking, engagements mean a lot more than views, especially with different standards of what counts as a view,” said Gabe Gordon, managing partner at Reach Agency. “Someone interacting or engaging with a piece of content is always going to mean more [than passive viewing]"

Shira Lazar, co-founder of digital video studio What's Trending is also among those sticking with Facebook Live. She hosts a daily show on Facebook called “Circa Pop Live” that her company produces which is backed by Sinclair Broadcast Group and averages 50,000 viewers per airing.

The number of US publishers using Facebook Live in a given month has waned since the peak in November 2016, although many do still use the format. The downward usage trend may coincide with Facebook’s decision to no longer pay some publishers to produce live videos as many value the revenue they can gain from Live views. But it may also be that publishers are struggling to produce content that not only keeps views but prompts engagement.

Live video on Facebook will likely see a change following the changes made. At the same time as Facebook said it would de-emphasise publishers’ and brands’ organic posts, it still held out for companies producing live videos.

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in news feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook — in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos,” wrote Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of news feed.

Statistics from Socialbakers appear to back that implication. Live videos reach twice as many people and receive 25 percent more engagements than native videos on Facebook.

“The engagement rates and watch times were staying the same while the views dropped. And since then, those have been rising while the views stayed the same,” said Ghahremani. “So I think there is a shift happening where the quality of the views is getting better.”

Written by Tim Peterson, 28 February 2018, published on digiday.com, Read full article here

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