Curiosity is a powerful motivator.
Imagine being able to sneak a peek into the lives of strangers around the world, real-time, with a click of a button. That voyeuristic compulsion became a reality on Wednesday as Facebook rolled out its live video map, an app on the sidebar of its desktop version. Click a blue dot in Cambodia and get a tour of a local market, watch the weather unfold off the coast of Panama, or join a biology lesson being taught in a classroom in Chicago.
It’s been a few months since Facebook introduced live streaming into people’s News Feeds across 60 countries, and in the time since, the company has rolled out new live streaming capabilities such as custom groups, events, and live filters. Last month at F8, Facebook’s Developer Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to open up Live’s API to make building live streaming into any device possible. And along with current media partners like BuzzFeed and Tastemade, Facebook will likely build out streaming capabilities across myriad outlets for people with all kinds of consumption preferences.
But within this social media marketing trend, Wednesday’s live stream map update is the most significant so far for marketers around the world. The desktop map may not display all live videos, but its features today signal the potential a platform like this could have for global content marketing teams in the future.
Here are just a few of the ways in which it could make a huge impact on brand storytelling across the globe.
Influencer marketing is a hotly contested content marketing strategy; one of the main arguments against it is that it’s not an organic way to build an audience. Paying a celebrity to feature your products seems unnatural, and in many cases, it’s obvious to the audience.
However, micro-influencers—regular people who don’t have huge social followings but are actual advocates of your brand—have recently proven to be more successful than traditional influencers in terms of perception and engagement. Now imagine having a team of micro-influencers scattered across the map building local fan bases through live video campaigns. Your local experts could walk your audience through their corners of the world, wearing or using your products while creating genuine connections with their viewers on your behalf, and you’d have a bird’s eye view of them all as if you were in the Situation Room.
One of the best features about the live map is that, for larger streams, it gives users the ability to visualize where people are located as they’re watching your video. Hover your cursor over a larger blue dot and see who your global audience is made of.
Click into a stream and witness a live comments section with reactions from the crowd.
There may not be sophisticated data that brands can pull from this view right now, but imagine the possibilities for a brand as Facebook inevitably seeks to monetize live streaming. Collecting data on who is watching your live videos, where they live, what other types of videos they watch, and other user preferences will allow brands to strategize relevant, useful, and entertaining content for the future.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report, user-generated content in the form of Facebook video is increasing at a rapid pace. People watched over 4 billion user-generated videos per day last year, which was up 33 percent from the year before.
As live video takes the public by storm, UGC will be a natural fit for brands hoping to take advantage of this trend. A global enterprise like Verizon could produce a video campaign that invites people from all over to share a short story around a simple theme of communication—forgiveness, or gratitude—in a single moment, and reward their contributions. Or perhaps the largest bottled water company in the world, Nestlé Waters—a company with 100 production sites throughout 36 countries—could encourage people to share stories of why the environment matters to them, along with pledging to act on their concerns. This type of cause marketing-UGC-live video mashup could be an especially powerful combination.
As the live trend grows, so too does the chance to meet people around the world through the raw authenticity and directness of a live connection. If global brands can stay on top of this trend as Facebook adds more features, they too will be able to tap into amazing opportunities for storytelling—one phone, one person at a time.