Should you do a Facebook Live? Maybe an Instagram story? What about a Snapchat or Periscope? Your head might be spinning and filling with a lot of questions about which live streaming platform you should pick for you and/or your clients.
This post is about helping you pick the right platform to reach your campaign’s and/or client’s goals. We've gathered the best of the best data from around the interwebs to share the pros and cons on live streaming.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Platform for Live Streaming
Before you choose a platform for live streaming , ask yourself these key questions:
What audience do you want to reach (e.g., niche, age, location, etc.)?
Facebook Live is just that: live. When you press go, you are broadcasting live to your selected audience—family, friends, followers, target audience, or all of the above (it’s your choice!). For a comprehensive guide to running a successful Facebook Live campaign, click here.
Facebook Live is hosted exclusively on Facebook. You can broadcast live from your personal profile, in a private group, or, most importantly, to brands on a Facebook page. In the past, popular videos shared on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube required a decent amount of production, including filming, editing, uploading, sharing, and promotion. Live streaming, on the other hand, gives users the opportunity to broadcast to friends anytime from anyplace where wifi is available—no editing required.
The following are pros of using Facebook Live:
You can drive online buzz via Facebook Live views (original and archived) + impressions, reaching your target audience in a fun and natural way.
Facebook Live create content that lives forever on Facebook (unless you delete it) and that you can share on other platforms and embed into blog posts.
Brands can generate additional content by editing and/or repurposing Facebook Live videos. This content can be shared across social media, used in blog posts, shared with other outlets, etc.
This platform allows a brand to engage with consumers by creating a safe environment for sharing and immediately responding to viewer’s questions, comments, concerns, etc.
By using this platform, brands can build and reward customer loyalty by taking consumers behind the scenes with you, giving them sneak peeks and advanced information, letting them be part of your broadcasts, and more.
Brands can increase coupon downloads, traffic, contest entries, and/or sales by sharing and rewarding live viewers on solid calls to action during the live broadcasts.
Facebook users are 76% female (out of 100% of all females) and 66% male (out of 100% of all males).
Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic.
42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business.
The following are cons of using Facebook Live:
The service is slightly glitchy so you need to be prepared for whatever happens during the live video segment.
Since the platform lives on a smartphone, the video and audio qualities are limited. The footage that you get all depends on the quality that your smartphone provides. Plus, you need to take into consideration that videos are highly compressed for delivery over the web.
Examples of brands that are getting it right on Facebook Live:
For Benefit, Facebook Live is just another platform where it can showcase its personality. The brand has been running a weekly live stream every Thursday called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” where a guest and a host choose a beauty topic and share advice while answering viewer questions live. The streams reach upwards of 42,000 to 59,000 live viewers, with an average of 2,000 people watching them at any given time.
(Click the image to view the Facebook Live video)
Dunkin’ Donuts used Facebook Live to take users inside “Dunkin’ Brands University,” where the donut chain makes its products. The video was a tour of the facility that ended with a tutorial on how to make a wedding cake out of Donuts, and was hosted by Dunkin’ chefs. The post received 4,000 likes and drove 31,680 views.
“When Live came out I thought, ‘Facebook is finally getting it right,’” Dunkin’ head of social media Melanie Cohn told Digiday. “Facebook is about scale; Periscope isn’t.”
For more information about Facebook Live campaigns and how to run one, click here.
Google+ Hangout Campaigns
Here are the pros of Google+ Hangout Campaigns:
Google Hangouts are very easy to install and set up, especially if you already have a Google account.
Google Hangouts allow many active hosts and participants—up to 10 devices can be connected to a single meeting.
Google Hangouts provide a suite of productivity apps that allow users to share what’s on their screen, collaborate in Google Docs, and view presentations. It’s a great collaboration tool.
The platform has 3,750,000 active users (as of June 2015).
The percentage of people age 15-34 that use Google Plus: 28% (as of June 2015).
The percentage of Google+ users that are female: 26.3% (as of June 2015).
The percentage of Google+ users that are male: 73.7% (as of June 2015).
The percentage of marketers that use Google+: 40% (as of June 2015).
The percentage of brands that have a presence on Google+: 70% (as of June 2015).
Here are the cons of Google+ Hangout Campaigns:
The more apps a user adds to his/her Hangout, the slower the connection gets.
Because Google Hangouts provide for multiple participants, they don’t allow for single-click conferencing. A user must create a Hangout, invite participants, and then begin the conference.
Google+ is on the decline as other dominant, user-friendly live streaming apps and platforms make an appearance.
Due to the decline in popularity, your company won’t seem as trendy as other companies that are live streaming on more popular platforms.
Example of a brand that is getting it right on Google+ Hangouts:
Explorers on all seven continents came together with public participants to celebrate exploration on this epic Google+ Hangout, 125 years to the day after the idea of the National Geographic Society was born.
If you decide to host a Google+ Hangout, then click here to learn more about how to host, promote, and maximize your Google+ Hangout.
Instagram Live Campaigns
Here are the pros of Instagram Live:
The creativity and high-quality visual content attracts a large audience.
Brands have two sources of data when looking at an Instagram Live video: views and likes.
The live stream allows you to combine several clips into one continuous video before posting.
The explore feature suggests video channels based on your interests.
Instagram has released a new API that can pull content from marketing platforms such as Salesforce so marketers can create, load, and schedule advertisements without assistance from Instagram.
53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.
25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.
11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.
6% of people 65+ use Instagram.
29% of online females use Instagram.
22% of online males use Instagram.
Here are the cons of Instagram Live:
Instagram recently released a new algorithm which changed how content is viewed on the app. Instead of showing images and videos in chronological order, content is now showing very much like Facebook’s feed in terms of order and preference.
A view is only counted if the full length of the video is played.
You cannot hyperlink in posts. You need to include the link in your Instagram profile in order to drive traffic to a certain website.
Due to the algorithm change, you need to educate your fans about how they can ensure that they don’t miss your latest posts. Either tell them in a blog post or an email newsletter that they need to start engaging with your posts and turn on post notifications to keep up with your latest Instagram content.
Examples of brands that are getting it right on Instagram Live:
Califia Farms, a natural beverage product company, is not only getting a lot of views for their amazing product designs, but they are also getting a lot of viewership on their Instagram feed. The company shares playful and fun videos and gifs on their Instagram feed that really drive views, likes, and comments.
(Click the image to view the Instragram Live video)
The Staples brand does a really great job of engaging followers while staying true to their quirky brand personality. When you scroll through their feed, you’ll notice that people have fun responding to their Instagram updates.
(Click the image to view the Instragram Live video)
The design is easy and user-friendly, making the platform more welcoming than other live streaming apps.
It is easier to follow users on Instagram than it is on many other apps.
Based on the “Social Media Brand Usage” graphic above, Instagram is the second most popular social media usage app. You will reach a greater audience using Instagram Stories since more people are already on the Instagram app.
Instagram Stories give users a behind-the-scenes look at the photos in your feed. The Stories show a certain kind of “realness.”
You can doodle on your Instagram Story which helps with using hashtags and sharing brand information.
There’s no need to build an audience since you already have a following on Instagram who will see your Story.