Livestreaming has exploded in 2016, going from an interesting novelty to a mainstream, must-have for national brands and smaller companies alike. In 2017, we are certain the trend of livestreaming content will continue, but before we start looking ahead, we wanted to take a look at the year that was. Here are the top 3 livestreaming trends of 2016 (with a bonus prediction for 2017).

More of It

Livestreaming has been around for years now, yet this year has seen an incredible explosion in livestream growth. Websites like Livestream.com and Twitch.tv have existed for years, bringing livestreamed content to audiences around the world. Even YouTube started a livestreaming service in 2011—5 years ago! However, like so many trends in the marketing industry, when Facebook steps into the game, the entire game changes. Facebook launched its Facebook Live service in April and since then brands have made the most of the platform.

It only makes sense that livestream content took off on Facebook. Facebook is behind YouTube in terms of daily views, but that gap could easily shrink as more and more users stay on Facebook to get their video content. It’s also clear that Facebook is prioritizing video content in their feeds, and a livestream gets additional weight when the Facebook algorithm considers putting video content in your stream.

Lower Barrier of Entry

Despite what you might say when arguing with your Internet service provider, Internet speeds in the US are slowly increasing in speed and reliability. At the same time, smartphones have done two important things: 1) nearly become ubiquitous; and 2) have better cameras that can shoot in high-definition (some even in 4k resolution). The combination of these two factors have simplified the amount of equipment you need to go live.

It also helps that Facebook and other companies have simplified streaming. Going live is as easy as a few button presses on your phone, and countless other apps offer the same accessibility. Even companies like Twitch have made it so that video game consoles can start a stream in just a few moments. Connect your account, hit the right buttons, and go.

Of course, the bigger brands are still using better equipment than average. Better microphones, better cameras, and an actual production team instead of you or your best friend’s shaky cam shot certainly separate major brands from the norm. However, it should be noted that, in certain occasions, technical quality is no match for content quality. It’s an unfortunate example, but the live video of Philando Castile was filmed using a smartphone and is probably one of the most powerful, albeit tragic videos of 2016.

Innovation and Brand Extension

Making livestreaming easier doesn’t mean a lot if brands aren’t doing anything interesting with it. Brands are adopting live video as a part of their marketing strategy. News organizations in particular seem to be making great use of livestreaming. One of my personal favorites is NPR, which regularly do live broadcasts. Not only do they regularly air programming, but they also do informal talks to supplement their traditional offerings. Another great example of livestream usage comes from Tastemade, which recreated its popular Tiny Kitchen videos but in a live format to great success. And while it’s a bit biased to mention, we have seen success with a regularly produced Facebook Live show, which airs most Wednesdays at 1:30 PM CT.

It should come as no surprise that live versions of content increase excitement. If nothing else, there is a novelty and a sense of unpredictability in live video. Consider famous sitcoms that threw in a live version, like 30 Rock. Simply taking the act and changing it to fit the live format tweaks the formula enough to freshen it up.

Bonus Hot Take for 2017: Virtual Reality is Coming

Just as Facebook helped live video explode in 2016 so will it do the same for virtual reality. The company has already heavily invested in Oculus, which produces premium headsets mostly for high-end computers. However, cheaper alternatives, like Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and more are entering the market, turning virtual reality into a legitimate market instead of a niche novelty for enthusiasts. Virtual reality livestreaming will bring a new level of immersion and offer new opportunities for brands to connect with audiences in the virtual space.

If you are interested in making livestreaming a part of your marketing strategy, contact 2930 Creative today. On top of producing our own live show, which you can catch most Wednesdays at 1:30 PM CT, we have experience shooting traditional video. We’re ready to help you go live!

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