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And We’re Live…

By Cory Bosket

Avatar for Cory Bosket

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Together they represent the biggest social media channels in the country. But they also share one more thing in common.

Live videos.

With Instagram’s rollout of their own mobile live streaming feature, all the big players in social media are in the game of live mobile video.

Live video isn’t the next ‘it’ thing in media. It’s the now thing.

It entertains, engages and attracts audiences unlike anything else. It’s worked wonders for brands like Buzzfeed and even nonprofits like charity: water. And with the right strategy, it can do the same for you.


Welcome to the Video Age

Social media is simply changing the way video is consumed. It already accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic, and it’s expected to jump to roughly 82% of all traffic by 2020.

And while video content is nothing new, it’s only going to get bigger. And fast. The emphasis on mobile has skyrocketed in the last year. As the screen gets smaller, brands will need to find a new way to get their messages in front of their audience. Getting your content in the hands of your audience may just rely on videos. But it’s not just any type of video that engages audiences.

While getting viewers to watch 2 or 3 minutes of pre-recorded video seems like a challenge, viewers are sticking around for 20 minutes plus when things are live. That means you get 18 more minutes on average, to engage, inspire and entertain your audience with your stories of impact.

The biggest brands are already on board, and each passing month will only lead to increased expectations for you to do the same.

The Players in Mobile Live Streaming

Mobile live streaming is an awesome way to communicate your brand stories and create meaningful connections with fans and followers, if you choose the right platform that is. Here’s the inside scoop on the hottest players in mobile live streaming:

Facebook Live

With a founder ‘obsessed’ with live video, it should be no surprise that Facebook plays host to the hottest live streaming platform. While initially exclusive to celebrities and verified users, the inclusive version of Live has been gaining impressive momentum amongst brands, publishers and ordinary people.

Launched: April 2016

Users: Facebook Live is available to anyone with a profile or page in over 60 countries, totalling over 1.6 billion active monthly users to date.

Latest Updates: Facebook plans to launch 360 video feature sometime in the next year, providing viewers and broadcasters with an immersive experience.

Hot Tips: Timing is everything in social media. Use your Facebook page’s Insights section to determine when most of your followers are online, and broadcast when your reach is highest.


While the Twitter owned Periscope was one of the first players in live mobile streaming, it’s impressive features, audience reach and exclusive programming have kept it near the top of the field.

Launched: March 2015

Users: 317 million monthly active users

Latest Updates:  Twitter has finally integrated live video into its flagship app, allowing users to live stream video straight from a tweet without needing to download the Periscope app.

Hot Tips: Over 110 years’-worth of video are viewed daily on Periscope. If you want to stand out and be seen, make it catchy, consistent and remember that Periscope is designed for sharing real-time experiences.

Instagram Live

The newly launched Instagram Live remains largely untested (for now), but thanks to some high-risk, high reward features it may gain enough steam to catch up to the rest.

Launched: December 2016

Users: 600 million monthly active users

Latest Updates: The ‘Top Live’ stream allows users to connect with the most popular and trending live videos of the moment.

Hot Tips: While Instagram may be late to the game, the videos will always disappear to differentiate itself from the competition. Use FOMO to your advantage by offering exclusives via your Instagram Live streams.  


While YouTube may have been king of video content for years, it appears to be losing its grasp when it comes to mobile live streaming. However, an impressive set of streaming capabilities has many experts positioning YouTube as the industry’s sleeping giant.

Launched: June 2016

Users: Over 1 billion users

Latest Updates: Mobile streaming is still relatively new to YouTube, but its recent announcement of 4K video support gives YouTube an edge in the growing market for live streaming.

Hot Tips: Unlike some of the other platforms, YouTube doesn’t alert your audience when you are live. Make sure to give them plenty of heads up to tune in ahead of time.

Is Your Brand Ready for the Bright Lights of Live Streams?

Millions of fans tuned in to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football on Twitter each week, undecided voters flocked to YouTube for the Presidential Debates and streaming records were smashed on Facebook thanks to Chewbacca Mom. Needless to say, live streaming had a banner year in 2016. And you can count on 2017 to be nothing less.

The challenge for brands is how to jump into live streaming in a compelling way that enhances brand authenticity, rather than undermines it. Sure, having the right equipment helps, but it takes more than some snazzy gear to get you going.

It takes a level of improvisation and adaptability to give your audience the real-time experiences they crave. Don’t try to create the next viral video or exaggerate your personality. Focus on the truth – the people and the stories that make your brand great – and do it in informative, fun and interesting ways to build your brand. 

Let’s face it, video is already huge. Live video is set to be even bigger. Don’t be the last brand to hop on the next trend. Get creative and give your brand the visibility it deserves.