Facebook opens Live Video, promotes VR

Until now only available to verified accounts for public figures (that’s “celebrities” to you and me), Facebook’s live streaming video is now available to non-verified Facebook users and brands with verified Pages.


“Live Video” is Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s Periscope but is integrated within the Facebook app (while Periscope is a separate application). It’s limited to iOS users currently, with initial testing restricted to US audiences.

That’s not all: having acquired virtual reality (VR) company Oculus last year, Facebook is starting to pitch the idea of VR product placement and sponsored content campaigns to advertisers. That’s despite the fact that Oculus Rift VR goggles won’t be available to consumers until next year sometime. According to those in the know, Facebook is touting VR as ideal for big brands wanting to make a big impression with product launches.

Why should you care?

Expect live stream video to go mainstream quickly — Periscope had 10 million users in under five months. Once released to the world at large Facebook starts with a potential user base of a billion people who actively use Facebook every day.

Brands with verified Pages can make use of Live Video to, as Facebook suggests, “make announcements, share breaking news updates, take fans behind the scenes, host Q&As, and more”. Fans will receive notifications that the broadcast is underway, and the streaming video will appear in their News Feed.

While there’s not been any announcement that the company will sell pre-roll ads on live streams, that’s a logical next step. And one that will have brand marketers getting even more excited.

VR promotions will, of course, require significant user adoption before they become practical. In the interim, brands have been testing Facebook’s recently released 360-degree video format — notably, Disney with its Facebook Star Wars promotion. And we’ll likely start seeing live 360 degree video soon; a precursor to the more immersive VR marketing opportunities of tomorrow.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.