Facebook Live Trends to Watch in 2018March 19, 2018
It’s undeniable: Facebook Live is dominating the streaming-video landscape, besting longtime leaders such as YouTube, Snapchat and Periscope in popularity. Facebook itself is driving this dominance by continually releasing new features and functionality for the Live platform, designed to appeal to professional broadcasters, DIY content creators, social influencers and tech enthusiasts alike.
So, what’s new for broadcasters, and what can they expect from the platform in 2018? In our complete guide to Facebook Live streaming, we share some of the latest features and innovations to look for as you plan your social media video strategy. In this post, we’ll give you a peek at some of the hottest Facebook video trends we uncovered.
Top Facebook Live Trends for 2018
Here are the top Facebook Live video apps, trends and capabilities that are leading streaming media into the future:
- New Features to Boost Follower Engagement
- Expanded Facebook Live Creator Tools
- Support for Augmented Reality
- VR/360 Video Takes off With Facebook Spaces
- GIFs for Facebook Live Video
- Square Video for Facebook Live Captures Mobile Viewers
1. New Features to Boost Follower Engagement
Facebook Live is built to maximize audience engagement, with real-time commenting and Live Reaction functionality. In this way, followers can instantly share feedback with broadcasters about what they’re seeing, providing an unprecedented level of viewer participation. As we’ve said before, using these features to interact with your audience is a top Facebook Live best practice.
But Facebook Live engagement doesn’t end there; Facebook is continually rolling out new capabilities that bring viewers and broadcasters together. Some notable highlights of the past year include:
- The ability for broadcasters on iOS devices to invite a friend to their live stream for a co-hosted production or special guest appearance.
- Screen-sharing capabilities, enabled by the Facebook Screen Sharing extension. Now broadcasters can start sharing their computer screen with Facebook Live viewers at any point during a live stream.
- In-stream chat functionality, which allows viewers to send a private chat through the Messenger tool without leaving the Facebook Live broadcast. Not only does this let viewers talk privately to others watching the stream, but they can also invite friends who aren’t already watching to join in.
2. Expanded Facebook Live Creator Tools
The new Facebook Creator app is designed especially for independent video creators, influencers, vloggers, performers and game streamers. It allows users to give live streams a more polished and produced look, offering a range of features aimed at luring them away from platforms such as YouTube.
With Facebook Creator, users can:
- Add intros and outros to live videos.
- Apply custom graphic frames to give broadcasts a consistent look and feel.
- Pull still frames from a live stream and publish them to Facebook Stories.
- Apply camera effects to live videos.
- Easily cross-post to other social media platforms.
- Track the performance of their snazzy new videos or learn about their fans through analytics capabilities.
In addition to these features, an in-app messaging feature groups all Facebook, Instagram and Messenger communications into a single inbox, so video publishers can see all fan feedback in one place. It also allows viewers and creators to exchange custom, interactive stickers.
To help video creators get started and make the most of the app, Facebook also launched a Creator website and online community. Here, current and aspiring influencers and online personalities can watch videos from other leading creators; read top tips and Q&As; get the latest video news from Facebook; and take tutorials on creating videos, building communities around them and growing and monetizing their brand.
3. Support for Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is a growing phenomenon in social media and communication platforms, allowing users to add graphic overlays and emojis to photos and video to create enhanced effects. This allows consumers who demand innovative experiences to customize their interactions with the app, the broadcaster or with other users.
Given that advertising incorporating AR is 50 percent more trusted and 20 percent more likely to drive a sale than other types of digital marketing, savvy brands are picking up on this trend. Naturally, Facebook is on the cutting edge, and its AR Studio platform is now available in a beta version for developers who want to build maps, animation overlays and other interactive effects for their Facebook video offerings.
The possibilities enabled by AR Studio bring audience engagement to a whole new level, with effects that respond to follower comments and reactions during Facebook Live broadcasts; the ability to incorporate data such as time, distance and biometric information; and living canvases for artists who want to share their creations with fans. Expect AR capabilities to become more widely available in the next year and beyond.
4. VR/360 Video Takes off With Facebook Spaces
Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) app, Spaces, recently integrated live-streaming capabilities. Exclusively for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets, it allows users to send 2D versions of their live stream to regular Facebook Live users. These 2D users can comment and add Live Reactions as they would with regular streams; the elements appear to VR users as objects floating in space.
When demoed at the 2017 F8 Conference, Spaces enabled regular Facebook Live users to “call in” to a VR user’s broadcast using the Facebook Messenger app. Their live stream appeared as 2D video within the headset user’s VR world, and 2D users saw the VR user in avatar form within their 3D environment.
Spaces allows users to choose just about any 3D environment to live stream from, and multiple users can join the same live stream simultaneously. In the future, Spaces may be expanded to include AR capabilities for 2D users and those with less robust VR hardware.
5. GIFs for Facebook Live Video
The GIF—short for Graphical Interchange Format—has become one of the internet’s most popular means of communication. In fact, users on Giphy, a leading GIF-creation platform, alone send 1 billion GIFs each day. GIFs are essentially animated pictures; as with traditional animation, they’re composed of multiple still images shown in a sequence, and are used to express a sentiment, much like emojis.
In 2017, Giphy added integration for Facebook Live through its Giphy Live product. This allows broadcasters to overlay a GIF of their choosing on the screen during their live stream. For an even deeper interactive experience, viewers can change the subject of the broadcaster’s GIF or insert their own GIF into the stream by entering hashtags in the comment field. With the popularity of GIFs only increasing, expect to see more of them in Facebook Live videos in 2018.
6. Square Video for Facebook Live Captures Mobile Viewers
Square video is becoming a top format for Facebook Live content, with engagement rates that blow those of traditional landscape (horizontal) video out of the water. Studies report higher proportions of likes and shares; up to 35 percent greater views; a 68 percent higher completion rate; and an astounding 100 percent higher engagement rate for square versus landscape videos.
Why is this format so engaging? Landscape videos are longer than they are tall, with a 16:9 aspect ratio (typically, this translates to a 1280 x 720 px size). Square video, however, is 1:1, meaning it automatically adjusts to meet the available height ratio (1280 x 1280 px)—and takes up more space on the screens of viewers’ mobile devices. This translates to more space in mobile users’ News Feeds, increasing their likelihood to engage through comments, shares and Live Reactions.
This has big implications for paid ads, as well. By boosting square Facebook Live videos as ads, you increase the likelihood consumers will watch them until the end, and engage with them by clicking on links or taking other steps toward purchasing the product or service advertised.
Since more than 92 percent of users access Facebook every day via mobile, it’s critical for content creators to optimize the Facebook Live viewing experience for these devices. Make sure you’re using equipment that can encode and deliver high-quality square video to the Facebook Live platform.
These are just a few of the hottest Facebook Live trends to watch this year. And Facebook is constantly rolling out new tools and features that can help you improve your social video marketing. Stay tuned—it’s going to be an exciting year!
Looking for the hottest tech available today? Learn about the Wowza ClearCaster™ appliance: a Facebook Live encoder that takes your live streams to the next level.
The Live Streaming Video Report (Business Insider)