Every time I get an inkling to open up Facebook to see if they have any unannounced, under the radar feature releases for live streaming, I get a little rush. Nerd alert! But in all seriousness, Facebook devs just casually roll out features to accounts in a way that treats every user much like a beta tester, especially because of the way features come and go, work and don’t work on any given day in some cases. Because the Facebook Creator Studio has recently added a bunch of new options for streaming using a paired encoder or stream keys, I wanted to cover some of the ones I’m excited to be seeing on their platform…. options that we have had in places like Youtube for some time, but Facebook is catching up.

I will be showing how to pre-schedule a live stream from a business Facebook page, you can do the same from a personal page and/or by going live now.

Creator Studio on Facebook

First, head to your page and at the toolbar at the top of the page, click “More” to drop down the menu and select “Publishing Tools.”

facebook creator studio

Once in Publishing Tools, you will find under the “Tools” heading, “Creator Studio.” Click here to be taken to the Facebook Creator Studio.

creator studio facebook

On the next screen, if you don’t already see the “Go Live” button with the red broadcast icon near the top right of your screen, click the “Home” button on your top left to access it.

 

Schedule a Live Video

Here you can Go Live Now or Schedule a Live Video. Since Facebook recommends scheduling your live event so that your followers have a chance to sign up to be notified and reminded about your live stream, that’s the method I will use here. Remember that Facebook, has not yet added the ability to select your time zone, so if you are scheduling a live stream that is going to happen in a time zone other than where you are when you schedule it, make the adjustment now to reflect the time it will be where the broadcast is. 

live stream facebook

Getting Started

Under “Getting Started” you can select how Facebook will receive your stream. Currently the following features are not available if you select “Camera” here and try to stream directly from a webcam. If you plan to use a paired encoder like we do for our client’s Facebook streams, such as Wowza’s Clearcaster you do not want to connect the encoder until 4 hours prior to your event. So for now, select “Use Stream Keys” and then go back later and pair your encider when you’re set up and ready to preview your stream within the 4 hour window.

Live Stream on Facebook

In this middle column are most of the goodies, so here we go! Make sure you drop down the “Stream” section to see of all these options.

End Live Video If Stream Stops

This one has been around for a minute. Ending the live video if the stream stops is another way of saying that by checking this box, you will not be using a persistent stream key, which is the term used elsewhere in streaming, on platforms like Youtube. It is not recommended that you use this option if you do not have reliable internet, because if your internet drops out and stops your stream, you will not be able to go back to the same live stream.

Allow Embedding

This is new, and while we’ve been able to embed a Facebook live stream on another webpage using their embed code, now we have the option to not allow the video to be embedded elsewhere on the internet. Here are some reasons we can think of not to allow embedding, and if we missed one, leave us a note in the comments.

  • Comments! If you are directing your audience via email or other social outlets to watch your Facebook Live on a webpage outside of Facebook, only the player will show up with the native embed code.
  • Followers! People watching your video off Facebook who don’t already like and follow your page are much less likely to do so if they aren’t on your Facebook page viewing your stream
  • If you are selling products through Facebook, collecting responses or utilizing any of the other many business tools on your Facebook page, your audience can’t interact with them off site.
  • Finally, we think that the Facebook gods and their algorithm don’t shine as brightly on you when you’re directing your traffic to watch a video using their platform, off of their site where their ads play. We don’t know what exactly the impact is, but we feel sure there is one.

Unpublish After Live Video Ends

We’ve seen this one before. We’ve seen clients use this feature if:

  • They want to give their audience that shared live experience.
  • They want to maintain their live analytics and then edit, shorten or make a highlight reel style video for on demand viewing after the event.
  • They have a large organization or brand with many decision makers that need to review the content before its more widely available to watch.

Go Live For Longer Than 8 Hours

Since 2016 when Facebook rolled out live streaming for all users, there have been various time limits for live streams. Most recently it was 4 hours on mobile and 8 hours streaming from a computer. Now Facebook has streaming longer than 8 hours, but will not save your video and your viewers will not have the option to rewind. We can’t seem to find an official word on how long you can continuously stream to Facebook using this option, but we speculate up to 24 hours.

Viewing

Now for settings about the viewing experience for the audience.

Allow Viewers To Rewind

We don’t usually recommend that people turn off the ability for folks to rewind their live stream. This is super helpful if you get distracted and want to rewatch something, come into a live stream late or have to step away from your device and come back to have missed something. The reasons you may want to utilize this feature around mostly the same as not having your video available on demand after the event or “unpublishing.”

  • You want to really promote that shared live experience like we had before DVR’s on our TV’s.
  • You want to have revelenat, real time comments and discussions and not have people posting about stuff that happened 15 minutes ago.
  • You want only your loyal viewers to get all the inside info and not have it available for people who join late.

Disable Live Commentary

Now you can live stream and have your audience viewing on Facebook, not allow comments during the stream. At Varvid we always stress to our clients that they need to assign someone from their organization to watch, interact, moderate and respond to comments during live streams, or you might want to consider turning them off. In social streaming, we don’t think it’s best practice to let your viewers comment without having anyone responding, it sends the message to your viewers that you aren’t engaged.

You may also want to disable live commentary if your content is controversial to some. Let’s keep going because below are some more fine tuned setting for comments.

Comments

Slow

Check the “Slow” box to restrict users from commenting faster than every 10 seconds. Keeps trolls from flooding your comment section quit so fast if you think you might have that issue.

Discussion

Using the “Discussion” setting only allows comments that are at least 100 characters. This might discourage people from a leaving a comment, those who don’t like rules, if you will, but using this feature could help facilitate more in depth engagements, just make sure you have someone on your team – maybe even multiple people responding thoughtfully.

Restricted

Using the “Restricted” setting restricts new (2 weeks old or less) Facebook accounts from leaving comments.We usually assume accounts that new are bots or accounts trolls made to make salty comments without revealing their identities. I don’t see any reason not to use this feature, unless you think there may be a chance some of our audience members don’t use Facebook and may create an account specifically to watch your live stream. Seems like a narrow field, but hey, maybe that fits your needs!

Protected

“Protected” only allows Facebook users who have followed your account for at least 15 minutes to leave a comment. So if you’re hoping to have your stream be shared around and new potential followers engage with your stream, don’t use this feature. We would recommend this option for a stream that have people coming to be objectory in the comments, who may even go follower or like your page to allowed to comment, but this feature would block them.

Crossposting

We have covered this in other posts, but remember that you can combine your viewing analytics with your partner’s pages by crossposting to their pages and engaging their followers. We learned the hard way that some features like adding Facebook’s donation buttons do not crosspost, even though Facebook doesn’t expressively state this anywhere. Be sure to test any content to make sure its cross posting correctly before you go live. You should be able to create a Scheduled Live Video for crossposting and then go to each page’s post and customize the description for each page without it affecting the other, however I will caution you that I have had some annoying instances of this not updating in real time on the pages who were not the main page, or it created the appearance of a separate post on the page. I hope these bugs are since worked out, but I always plan for and look for them during testing and set up for any event. At Varvid, this is a part of my project management process when using Facebook during testing and rehearsals. 

 

Audience Settings

And finally, if your content is not appropriate for all ages from 13 and up, you can restrict users whose accounts have their age set at various intervals form 12 plus through 25+. Not quite sure what you’re restricting for 21-25 year olds……but uh, yeah, be responsible with your content to avoid extra public backlash. Be aware that your content still have to abide by Facebook’s community standards.

And if any of this is feeling like a lot, we’d love to work with you as a consultant or as your streaming partner so we can effectively put these practices in place for your organization or brand.

 

Live streaming has certainly grown in popularity over the last five years due to massive increases in internet connection speed as well as the near-constant connectedness of audiences via their smart devices.


Having been in the live streaming industry prior to all of this, we’ve become quite familiar with how folks talk about live streaming, and it seems like there are a few myths that are very typical of people looking to hold their very first live stream.

We’d love to share our expertise with you here to help you understand the benefits of live streaming just like we do!

1. Live streaming your event will decrease in-person attendance

While it might seem logical that people would prefer to stay home and watch your live stream rather than attend your event in person, studies show this isn’t the case. 

In fact, live streaming has been shown to increase in-person attendance. 

According to Digitell, 30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year. 

We watch our clients grow their events in subsequent years after live streaming all the time because it gives their audiences a glimpse into why they wouldn’t want to miss the event and helps their brands and events gain the exposure they need to grow. 

Coachella is a great example of this; after they live streamed their 2011 festival, they turned around and sold out their 2012 festival in record time — 3 hours! 

Our founder and pioneering live streaming IT guru Aaron Booker always says…

“We can’t get you more ticket sales by live streaming this year, but if you do it, we can get you more butts in seats next year!”

2. Live streaming is too expensive

Live streaming your event can be done cheaply with your cell phone camera or professionally with a crew that will provide broadcast quality coverage of your event. 

Whichever route you decide to take, the value of the live streaming is unquestionable. 
When you consider that your online audience may be three or 4 or more times the in-person audience when the event is live, AND create even more reach for those who couldn’t tune in live watch the recording on demand, you can start to see the value in investing in your live stream production. 

At the end of your event, not only do you have the live stream online for people to watch on demand, but if your event was professionally streamed, you should also have a high resolution recording of the entire thing as well. This footage can be used to make stylized recap videos, bite sized social media postings and added to your content library to pull bits out of for future videos, commercials and more. 

3. Broadcasting your event on Facebook or Youtube is the same as having it played on TV

This is a common idea I find that gets unearthed when I work with clients who want to Facebook live stream their event. 

Live streaming has a world of potential to connect you, your brand, your ideas, your contributors, your audiences and even your management team and employees! 

Here are some awesome examples of this we’ve seen:

1. Giving away prizes to someone who comments with the correct answer to a question
2. Random drawings for a swag bag to the right commenter
3. Displaying comments and reactions from online viewers on screens for the in person audience to see in the room 
4. Major collaboration between online and in-person audiences to solve a puzzle
5. Listen to ideas from the audience
6. Post up polls for them to vote on what happens next
7. Submit fan art to share
8. Even donating to a cause!

Another thing this myth leaves out is the rich metrics you get from streaming online. Streaming online gives you great metrics for your marketing team to use to set and evaluate goals, find out which parts of your programming were popular, how long your audience will stay engaged in a video, as well as a host of demographic information like the age, time zone, and occupation of your viewers.

 

facebook live stream

One cool way we recently saw Twitch engagement being used by a client was for creating “end of the day” wrap up and recap videos. 

Rather than having a dedicated team sit through hours of footage to pull out clips people might find interesting, we used Twitch clips to pull out content that had been clipped by the client’s audience had told us they connected with and strung them together for quick and easy crowd sourced recap videos. 

4. When your live stream is over, the reach is over

In our experience, you will see at least 10X the views on a video after the live stream is over, over the following week. 

While some platforms like YouTube allow you to trim and make minor edits to your video after the live stream is over, others like Facebook do not yet have that feature. 

So definitely keep in mind when you’re planning your streaming content that you may or may not, depending on the destination, have the ability to trim off time at the beginning of your stream that you started before your programming began, which may be really boring for those watching post-event. 

5. If  we live stream, the programming will need to be perfect

While streaming your event to thousands of viewers may make you think that your programing needs to be perfectly polished and scripted, quite the opposite is true. 

Some of the best audience reactions happen during mishaps, awkward timing and candid moments at an event. People watch live content because its more authentic and fluid, that’s the nature of the live space and it’s something we know and love.

If you’re professionally streaming your event, the director of the stream will know just how to call camera angles, graphics and cuts to keep your stream moving along for your online viewers while making them feel like a part of the event and highlighting perspectives that make your brand stand out.

If you want an expert team to help you plan out your next live event, we are here to help. You can contact us here to tell us about your project!

In 2017 we will be starting a new project, The Varvid Podcast, which explores how live streaming can be used to build and strengthen communities. We’ve posted a teaser episode to our new podcast library (check it out here).
The Varvid Podcast Finder
The Varvid Podcast is a resource for everyone interested in live-video production, whether you’re new to live streaming or you’ve been webcasting for years. Host Aaron Booker will pick the brains of individuals who use live video regularly to discover how they use it to connect communities, why live video is important in today’s digital world, and any tips and tools to help improve live broadcasts.
Wirecast Interview with Andrew Haley about live streaming
As we get started, our guest interviews will be broadcasted live over Facebook, and the edited versions of the episodes will be released bi-weekly on our podcast page. So far our guests include Adobe’s Creative Cloud Evangelist, Paul Trani, the Live Streaming Evangelist at Telestream, Andrew Haley, and Josh Hamm, the Media Director for Life Center Church in Tacoma, WA.

Whether you are a live-streaming professional, have an interest in streaming technology, or if you simply just want to learn more about the use of live video, please tune in!

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 5.59.36 PMOne of the most engaging brands most of us have ever experienced is Starbucks. You can not only actually smell their brand, but also experience it when you walk into their shops and speak to a barista to order your coffee – it’s visceral and makes you feel rich, that’s why Starbucks customers pay more for a cup of coffee than most.

[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”orange” textColor=”#666666″] You can not only actually smell their brand, but also experience it [/pullquote3]

Ok, so your company isn’t Starbucks spending millions on building brand so how do you learn to build or create a brand? There are so many parts to building brands, I’ll keep it simple for now.

The difference between marketing and building brand is branding is a much larger and more strategic positioning of your company, service or product and marketing is the actions you take to distribute the message to your audience.

Or you can think of it this way. People are loyal to (and keep buying from) brands, but make a buying decision because they were touched by some type of marketing activity – an online ad, an email, etc.

Assuming you have consistency in marketing activities across the following areas, you are on your way to helping give your company some brand personality.

  • Simplify your web site to convert visitors – engage visitors emotionally about a felt need
  • Update social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – design to look and feel like your web site
  • Send emails that educate, not overtly sell – let others appreciate your value, give them something
  • Send gifts or thank you cards – let people know you appreciate them
  • Host and promote events to educate and engage your audience – connected events engage the audience; you could host your own event or sponsor someone else’s.

A strong brand image that helps support your marketing activities are the roots of the tree and your marketing activities are the fruit that prospects pluck from the tree. As you think of your brand image start to imagine how the following all look and feel to people who are seeing your company from the outside.

  • Company and or product logo
  • Tagline
  • Look, feel and experience on your web site and or inside your office or at your location
  • When customers meet and discuss business with your people
  • Events you host or sponsor
  • Videos they watch
  • Emails they read
  • Social media sites customers might interact with

These are just a few areas that great brands build a cohesive look around.

At Varvid we do everything from live webcasting to video marketing with animation, web site design and product design. One of our favorite clients we love that has a great brand is Wizards of the Coast. If you didn’t already know, Varvid webcasts their annual international Magic the Gathering tournament live over the Internet.

This brand is an experience. Not only do people play the game on XBox, there is a card game along with a very powerful social media presence that requires engagement. And each year, Magic the Gathering hosts an invite-only playing of the game to crown the champion. Varvid has the honor of broadcasting it on the Internet to thousands of followers. It is so cool!

If you have not started thinking about your brand, Varvid encourages you to start – people stay loyal to great brands.

 




In our last blog we talked about how savvy marketers are opting for live streaming of video to make their events available to remote audiences, as well as giving their live and Internet audiences the ability to communicate with an event moderator via Twitter – otherwise known as live webcasting. This was exactly what Varvid did with WistiaContest Domination and other companies at the Video Marketing Explain-a-Thon held at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Seattle.

Varvid has been streaming events live for more than a decade, but what’s new as of late for a lot of our clients is the addition of combining Twitter to the online event video player – this way attendees can see the interactions they are having with the event host by using hashtags when they post on Twitter.

[pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”orange” textColor=”#666666″] Varvid has been streaming events live for more than a decade. [/pullquote3]

This fact was brought to our attention in a recent blog written by Stephanie Clifford called A Front Row Seat via Video where she explains that “As more brands offer live videos of the shows, regular viewers see exactly what the buyers and editors are seeing, and influence what will be made by pausing on an outfit or posting Twitter messages about a particular style.”

In other words, the content at the shows can be discussed, influence viewers, and create trending conversations that are tracked and searchable by search engines (like Google).

The morale of the story: if you have an event you want people to engage in and develop a following with – leverage the expertise of a company that understands how to live stream events with an internet video broadcast, and host conversations with the audience via Twitter – these are connected events!

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

In a recent interview with NPR affiliate KPLU, tech guru Mark Anderson  of Strategic News Services (SNS) shared his top 10 tech predictions of 2013.  Published in his newsletter, these forecasts are aimed at providing cutting edge news for the computing and telecommunications industry – hey, that’s us!

Our Take On It. . .

First of all, Mark knows his stuff. . .  over a 10-year period his accuracy rating is over 90%.  Of his predictions for this year, one in particular will affect the way video and other digital media content is viewed on the web.  His number one prediction, “Surface and slates and iPads and Kindle Fire and Nexus 10 and everything else that’s got a 7-inch screen plus or minus an inch or so, will be the biggest category of computing device.”  That’s scary if your company isn’t doing anything to stay relevant in this growing digital atmosphere.

photo2It is important, for anyone publishing content on the web, to know these devices are integrated inside and out with Google and Bing search capabilities.  Why is this important?  Decision makers across the board are searching for advice and insight online.  As it turns out, more and more of this is taking place on tablets and mobile devices, increasing the importance of staying relevant and attractive on the web.  One powerful and effective way in doing so is through video.  In 2012, mobile video ads alone made up 33% of the average marketing budget – with 56% of consumer web traffic in 2012 being video, we can certainly see why!*

[pullquote_right]In the online landscape of uber-short attention spans, delivery is king![/pullquote_right]Most of us experience streaming video content on a daily basis – we get the concept and we see the value. The million dollar question we should be asking is not why video, but how?  Simply put, it’s not just about creating video content.  In the online landscape of uber-short attention spans, delivery is king!  Flash has been replaced by HTML5, standard 4:3 aspect ratio is now glorious 16:9 widescreen!  So we’ll ask again… how are YOU delivering your message?  Is your video and digital media optimized for today’s mobile audience?  It should be.

[fancy_box]If you’d like to know and hear more on this topic, join us Friday, January 18, 2013 in the Syre Auditorium at Whatcom Community College.  Varvid is honored to be a sponsor for the 2013 Predictions Luncheon featuring Mark Anderson.Visit the TAG website for more info: 

http://www.tagnw.org/events?eventId=568722&EventViewMode=EventDetails[/fancy_box]

 

*source  –  Social Times: http://socialtimes.com/infographic-2012-online-video_b112645