2016: The year of live video

Livestreaming is poised to grow in real time

2016 was the year live video had its moment. It was embraced in all its glory by the masses and will continue to evolve as we move into 2017. Are you ready?

Social video already generates 1,200-percent more shares than posts with images or text, and people clearly enjoy interacting with video content. Live video, or livestreaming, takes that engagement up a notch, so it’s becoming popular with brands and consumers alike. People spend three times as long watching live videos as they do regular ones.

When the likes of Periscope and Meerkat splashed onto the scene in early 2015, it was clear that livestreaming was the next big thing. And that big thing grew even bigger when Facebook brought its Facebook Live platform to the masses in April 2016.

“This was the year we really saw platforms, influencers, and everyday users embracing live video,” says Justin Lafferty, founder of On Base Marketing and former editor of Adweek’s SocialTimes. “Even those who don’t have a celebrity following have discovered the magic of live video. I’ve had friends go live from theme parks or parties, including us in on the fun.”

Justin points out several live video highlights from 2016:

  • Facebook had a commercial for Facebook Live during the World Series.
  • Twitter broadcasts NFL games live through its platform.
  • Chewbacca Mom and other live videos were organic viral hits.
  • The House of Representatives sit-in was broadcast via politicians’ phones, giving us a view news cameras couldn’t capture.

What is livestreaming?

Livestreaming allows anyone anywhere to share in an event as if they were there. That’s it. Why is this important? In our world of constant connectivity, people want to feel actual connections not only with other people around the world, but with the brands and businesses they love. As Ted Rubin, acting CMO of Brand Innovators, explains:

“Video is what attracts people more than anything else on social platforms. What livestreaming is doing is finally making video social. Video was not social before, it was just a broadcast medium. Now, all of a sudden people are able to interact, engage, and share in real time, and that’s exciting to me.”

Livestreaming will continue to evolve, and become more commonplace, as we move into 2017. Ted says that as the demand for more engagement grows, people will see video empowered to become truly social.

But he also adds that the real reason live video is so attractive is that people don’t have to pay the fees to be on regular media television.

“Am I going to picked up by a network? Maybe not, but I can do my own live broadcasts from anywhere and use my own social following, or my company’s, to grow,” he says. “This is the age of influence, where anybody can build brand, affect change, make a difference, 24/7 right in front of any camera.”

Taking live video mainstream

When Facebook joined the party, Justin says it brought live video into the mainstream. Facebook is “kind of the default social water cooler,” and, unlike Twitter, users didn’t need a separate app like Periscope or Meerkat to stream live.

“Having that capability baked into the Facebook app natively helped those who aren’t really keen on Twitter,” he says. “Periscope was a big hit among those who fully understand Twitter, while Facebook was able to bring livestreaming to those who may have never heard of Periscope or logged onto Twitter.”

That being said, brands and businesses should always be where their fans are. Approach your live video strategy much like you did your initial social media strategy.

Go where your fans are.


“Go where your fans are,” Justin says. “If you have a bigger, more engaged audience on Facebook, go there. If you’re more popular on Twitter, then Periscope is your key.”

Tips for livestreaming in 2017

The No. 1 reason to get your livestreaming plan sorted for 2017 is so you don’t get left behind.

Twitter and Facebook feeds are optimized for live video. “If you’re interested in getting your message out to more people, start thinking about livestreaming now, before the ecosystem becomes too congested and people are on to the next big thing, leaving you behind,” Justin says.

Other live video tips include:

Don’t be afraid to start. The first couple of times you broadcast, you might be speaking into a void. And that’s OK;

Get the word out. Promote livestreaming events ahead of time via an email list or advertising. Even a post a couple days ahead of the broadcast, advising people to visit the page and tune in, can be a huge help.

Build anticipation. Show a countdown clock for five minutes before beginning a broadcast to alert people that you’re live, create anticipation, and get people to tune in before you start streaming.

Justin’s final tip: “Think ahead. Facebook and Twitter are opening the APIs to be able to broadcast from a desktop or a drone. Think of creative ways to broadcast that would gain your fan base’s attention. Even apps such as Houseparty (think a group live broadcast) are continuing to gain traction. By being an early adopter, you can stand out among a crowd.”

Image by: Onefound via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

Mar Andras
Mar Andras is a Philadelphia-based business owner and writer. A former community journalist and photographer, Mar has worked behind the scenes as a ghostwriter and social media/content marketer for nearly a decade. When she’s not giving tips on how to use social marketing for business, she spends her time writing essays for likes of VOX and is penning a memoir about Alzheimer’s and her childhood. When she’s not doing those things, you can find her on Instagram or Twitter posting gratuitous photos of her cat.