From the Editor’s Desk: Why we’re becoming believers in Facebook Live
In this month's column, Editor-In-Chief Matt McGee offers more anecdotal evidence that Facebook is going to own the world of live video.
Live video is a Big Deal these days. Twitter launched Periscope a little over a year ago, helping to make live video more mainstream than it was in the days of Ustream, Justin.tv and the like. Google Hangouts has been a popular live video platform since its launch. And no doubt you’re aware that Facebook is super-excited about its Live video product, too, making it one of the main tabs in the Facebook mobile app.
Almost three months ago, we jumped on the live video bandwagon with the launch of a weekly show that we’re calling Marketing Land Live. The show will evolve over time, but the main concept is that we spend 30 to 60 minutes discussing the week’s biggest marketing stories. If you’ve never checked it out, you can catch some replays at that link, or just follow us on Blab and plan on tuning in live every Friday at noon ET.
But the point of this column isn’t to get more viewers (although that’s always welcome!); it’s to talk about what we’re doing with live video, why we’re doing it and how it’s going so far.
Why use Blab?
We chose to do Marketing Land Live on Blab because it’s (usually) super-easy to set up a new show, start broadcasting and invite viewers to tune in. It’s certainly much easier, in my experience, than setting up a Google Hangout. Those are the two main platforms we considered because they both allow group conversations, unlike Periscope and Facebook Live, which offer one-to-many broadcasting.
The downside to using Blab is that it’s new and still in beta, and it also hasn’t yet launched an app for Android. So you can only watch or participate on the web or via the iOS app.
Why even do a live video show every week?
This is something that’s been on my radar for about the past six to nine months. The main reason for doing a weekly video show, of course, is to grow the Marketing Land brand and community. It’s another way to find new readers and to connect with existing readers. The video show gives us a chance to be more personal and offer commentary on the news that we cover, in ways that we really can’t do via our websites.
There’s another good reason: Doing our own live video show helps us better understand one of the hot topics that we’ve been covering. The experience that we’re having as a publisher trying to reach viewers via live video helps us better cover the space.
How’s it going?
So far, so good. We’ve had a few technical hiccups along the way, and even had to switch over to Hangouts to do the show one week because Blab wasn’t cooperating. But the feedback we’ve had so far is good, and the viewers who tune in seem to be enjoying the shows, at least based on the conversations they have with us in the Blab comments.
How does Facebook Live fit into this?
This is where it gets interesting. For the past two weeks, we’ve broadcast our Blab video show on Facebook Live, too.
Yep. Danny Sullivan, our co-founder and one of the show’s guests the past two weeks, worked up a MacGyver-style setup where he used multiple monitors and his smartphone to stream video of our Blab chat on Marketing Land’s Facebook page.
The results? Our typical Blab show gets anywhere from 60 to 120 live viewers, and then usually another 200 to 300 who watch the Blab replay. In fact, as I scroll through the show archives on Blab, viewer counts are 280, 344, 185, 476 and so on. All in all, not too shabby for a new show on a video platform that not’s called YouTube or Facebook.
But here’s more anecdotal evidence that Facebook is going to eat its competition when it comes to live video: The two shows that we streamed on Facebook Live had 950 and 1,000+ live viewers, respectively — more than 10x the live viewer count of Blab. Overall views, including replays, were more than 2,150 and 4,350, respectively. This is with little to no advance promotion and a video that was lower quality than normal because we were doing a live stream of another live stream.
So when we hear stories from other brands and publishers about how they’re getting way more viewers on Facebook Live than other platforms, we can’t help but nod our heads in agreement. That certainly matches our (admittedly limited) experience.
If (when?) Facebook Live makes it possible for multiple people to be part of a broadcast, like we can do on Blab or in a Hangout, I dare say we’ll be moving Marketing Land Live to our Facebook page. That’s clearly where our viewers are.
This is the second edition of From the Editor’s Desk, a monthly column where we talk directly with our readers about the work we do (and why we do it) on both MarketingLand.com and SearchEngineLand.com. The first column was about why we dropped comments from both sites.
If you have a question or topic you’d like to know about, I’d love to hear from you. I asked for suggestions last week on Twitter, and Christian Bullock responded with a suggestion about why we launched Marketing Land as a separate site, and our vision for both sites over the next few years. If you have a good idea like that one, feel free to tweet to me (@mattmcgee) or send me an email through this website. Use the contact page and choose my name from the drop-down menu.
Thanks again for reading!