Facebook has renewed its focus on streaming after rolling out a wave of new features for Live video for mobile, including invites, reactions, filters and the ability to share content with a specific group or event.
The latest update will also make live streaming more prominent by introducing a new video discovery tab at the front and centre of the Android and iOS app, which will replace the Messages icon. It means that Live will now feature alongside Notifications, News Feed and Friend Requests as one of the primary tabs for users.
Facebook is also bringing its new slate of reactions to Live, so viewers will be able to show how they feel about content in real time. These reactions will appear and disappear from the screen within seconds and, according to the tech giant, will be “like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer.” Replays of these videos will also show any comments and reactions as they happened.
The updates are designed to make live video a central part of the social media platform and will include new functionality such as being able to invite a friend to watch a video. There will also be a button within the app that will enable users to see popular videos from friends, celebrities, brands and other things they are interested in.
Facebook is supporting its latest live video push by paying news publishers such as BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Sky to create engaging content. However, it is hoping to switch to alternative monetisation models in the future, which could make Live a potentially lucrative outlet for marketers.
“We announced in March that we’re testing different ways to support partners so they begin experimenting with Facebook Live,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We’re investing in live video as we think it’s a great fit for our platform – more and more people are choosing to watch and share live video on Facebook because it is personal, real-time and authentic.”
Facebook Live is also adding two new metrics – “Viewers During Live Broadcast” and “Live Broadcast Audience,” which can be accessed via Page Insights or from within a user’s video library.