Little more than a year ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg streamed the first live video from Facebook headquarters. In April of this year, his company officially launched its live streaming product, Facebook Live, which allows any individual or company with a Facebook account to become a broadcaster.
Facebook Live is arguably one of the most important products the social network has ever launched, and to ensure adoption, the company reportedly inked deals with more than 100 celebrities and media companies, which it paid more than $50 million to for their Live content.
The strategy apparently worked. Since Live launched, it has become a popular Facebook product and Live videos have generated billions upon billions of views. What’s more, Live streams have higher organic reach and produce more engagement, making them particularly attractive to brands, which have jumped on the Facebook Live bandwagon to stream everything from product launches and interviews to tours and tips.
Now, Facebook is looking to make it even easier for Facebook Live users to use the product to good effect with the launch of scheduling functionality that allows Live broadcasts to be scheduled up to a week in advance. As Facebook’s Peter Roybal and Brian Lin explained:
Scheduling a live video makes it easier to build anticipation and buzz with your audience before your broadcast begins, so you can start strong with an audience already assembled. When you schedule a live video, an announcement post will be published to News Feed letting your fans on Facebook know that the broadcast is coming. People who see the post can opt in to receive a one-time reminder notification that will alert them shortly before your broadcast begins. Your fans can then join a pre-broadcast lobby directly before the live video starts, where they can connect and interact with other viewers.
Initially, scheduling functionality is available to Verified Pages but will become available to all Pages in the coming weeks. Scheduling is performed using the Live API via Publishing Tools and Facebook has released a step-by-step PDF guide that walks through the process. Facebook says that in the near future, it will be allowing developers to to access scheduling functionality, so brands using third-party tools that are integrated with Live will soon be able to handle scheduling through those tools.
Why it’s important for brands
Broadcast scheduling has been a popular request for Facebook Live, and it is an important development for brands using the product. That’s because while Live broadcasts don’t need to be television-like undertakings to be successful, brands that want their Live broadcasts to be successful do need their broadcasts to be well-planned, have good production quality and be promoted adequately. All of that requires time and money.
Broadcast scheduling obviously helps with promotion, and brands that are able to translate their promotion into views and engagement should feel more confident investing time and money into their Facebook Live initiatives.
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