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Facebook Live – Experiential Marketing’s New Best Friend

Published: December 16, 2016

Author: Daniel Rohsler

Facebook has been investing heavily in video streaming since launching ‘Facebook Live’ last summer. With the explosive rise (and eventual fall) of streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook easily capitalized on users’ desire to share videos in real time, and in turn stole market share from these competitive apps by releasing Live to their already existent user base of roughly 1.8 billion people.
Surprisingly, Facebook has been pushing Live heavily through TV ads. It seemed like every half-inning of the World Series, which broke all kinds of ratings records, featured commercials for Facebook Live. The short, 15-second vignettes featured people documenting the eccentricities of their everyday life an a charming yet relevant way. On the surface, the ads are comical and light-hearted, but they carry a lot of substance by showing the ease of use for the feature.
Chewbacca mask Facebook Live
So now that Facebook’s brought this to the masses (which in part should be accredited to Candace Payne, who amassed over 160 million views and 3.3 million shares on her ‘Chewbacca Mask’ video back in May), the true potential for Facebook Live is beginning to show its roots. Just this weekend, I was able to watch a friend cross the finish line of the NYC Marathon in real time using Live – something that I’d never be able to see in person because a) I live on the opposite coast and b) I probably couldn’t finish a 10k, let alone a marathon. But this is what I would categorize as ‘experiential’ appeal. Facebook provides the platform, but the users provide the experience.
What’s also fascinating is Live’s range of use. Protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline are using Live day in and day out to demonstrate some of the horrors taking place. A Live video of a fight breaking out at the protest garnered over 4 million views, gathering tons of attention for the protest, which has been viewed as being largely undocumented by mainstream media.
On a lighter note, Live has been great for delivering some really impressive behind-the-scenes looks at, well, pretty much anything. Scientists have set up live streams of the Aurora Borealis, athletes share their pre and post-game rituals, and chefs cook up entire meals, just to name a few examples. The National Zoo in Washington, DC recently garnered attention this summer for streaming a video of a baby panda doing tricks for zoo guests.
From a marketing perspective, Live is a great way for brands to capitalize on people’s desire for experiential content. Video content can often be costly and usually requires budget for production and editing. But with Live, there’s a great opportunity for a brand to show more of its ‘every-day’ side. Things like an office tour or a live look at a brand’s production center can go a long way in humanizing a brand and building equity at low or no cost.  
Has your brand leveraged Facebook Live? Share some of your favorite activations with us in the comments!

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