Live streaming has become completely normalised as a valuable means for businesses or individuals to connect with their audience. The fact that people can watch videos in real-time hugely increases watch time and encourages engagement.
As live streaming has become such a prominent part of online culture, it has naturally become far more accessible too. These days, all you need is a smartphone and a social media app, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to go live to an impressive audience at the touch of a button.
Whilst this newfound accessibility is great for individuals looking to engage and build relationships with their followings, for businesses, the decision about how and where to live stream is far more complex. For live streams to be effective, it’s essential to take into account the quality, speed, purpose, access, and more.
To help you make the decision about where to live stream, Zidivo’s live video experts weigh up Facebook Live and how it compares to using a professional live streaming platform.
Facebook Live was first launched to the general public in April 2016. Since then, it has become one of the most popular features on the platform, used by both individuals and businesses to engage with friends or larger audiences. Facebook Live makes it simple and quick for anyone, anywhere, to go live to an extensive audience.
Facebook Live videos produce six times as many interactions as traditional videos.
One of the main reasons why Facebook Live is so popular is the immediate access it provides users to a vast audience. Individuals or businesses can stream to their existing followings and more, straight away - Facebook even notifies your followers when you’re live!
The valuable reach that Facebook provides live streamers makes it ideal for individuals that have spent time and dedication implementing social strategies and building up large followings on the platform.
Easy to use
The process is uncomplicated and designed for people with little to no video experience, making it practically impossible to go wrong.
How to go live on Facebook:
Press ‘Go Live’ on your Facebook news feed.
Write a description to reel viewers in and spark the interest of your audience.
Choose your privacy preferences.
Browse the filter or editing options.
If using the Facebook Live feature on mobile, it’s as simple as opening the app and tapping the ‘live’ icon. On a desktop, however, a separate video encoder will be needed to convert your video into streamable content and generate a ‘stream key’.
Compromised video quality and length
Despite live streaming on Facebook being incredibly simple, it does have its drawbacks. For those looking to incorporate live streaming into a business’ online strategy, Facebook Live might not make the cut.
It’s the quality of live streams where social platforms fall short. Facebook allows live streams at a maximum of 720p, meaning there is no option to stream in full HD. No one enjoys watching poor quality videos, and it doesn’t look good for your brand if your live streams are blurry. Ideally, live streams should be at a consistent 1080p HD output, to provide viewers with a completely professional look and feel.
As well as Facebook Live limiting the quality of video streams, the feature offers a maximum bit rate of 2500 Kbps. If you want to ensure that your live streams load smoothly, quickly, and without any issues, Facebook Live might not be the right option.
Whilst most may use live streams to put out short chatty videos, there is a whole range of purposes that may require streams to last hours or even days long. If you or your business is looking to stream for hours at a time, Facebook Live is not the way to do it. Streams on the platform are constrained to 90 minutes maximum, presenting problems for those looking to film longer events, webinars, discussions, etc.
As live streaming has become so commonly used, naturally, businesses are finding numerous ways to monetise their streams. Facebook Live, unfortunately, doesn’t allow much freedom in this respect. You can decide how private or public your streams are, but that’s as far as it goes. If you’re looking to generate revenue with your live streams by restricting access, requesting payments, including personalised ads or encouraging subscriptions, you are far better using a professional streaming service.
The chances are, your entire audience won’t be tuning into your live stream in real-time. Many will watch your video at a later time or date, so it’s essential to make sure it stays accessible. Search engines are unable to index live videos from Facebook, meaning your live videos can easily get lost in the mess of your followers’ news feeds over time.
No one has time to trawl through their social feeds to try and find a video, so this can present issues for those who are unable to drum up large audiences at the time of going live. More than that, most people search for content these days directly from search engines. Embedding live videos on your site means they can be indexed, making them far easier for your target audience to track down and watch.
All in all, Facebook’s live video features are great for drawing attention to your brand and directing your audience to your site with teasers or samples of your products/services. To get a live streaming strategy right though, you will need to embed streams on your business’ site or webpage to see effective results.
Professional live streaming…
For businesses or individuals looking to utilise live stream for a specific purpose, professional streaming services are the way to go. With the right equipment, you can rest easy knowing that you can stream at a high resolution with minimal processing errors. Social platforms like Facebook are simply unable to offer the same standard of quality.
80% of consumers prefer to watch live videos from a brand rather than read a blog.
Zidivo offers a professional and highly reliable streaming service, allowing businesses to stream straight from their camera equipment to any device and audience. This goes far beyond the remits of Facebook Live, as you can embed your high-resolution live streams on any website or webpage using simple code.
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What makes professional live streaming services worth the investment?
Using a dedicated streaming wizard allows you to stream in whichever quality you choose. Professional streamers, therefore, benefit from the ability to stream to their viewers in up to 4k HD, with the right camera equipment. If you plan to stream a live event or webinar in exchange for money, this means you can guarantee a consistent and reliable viewing experience.
Maintain the rights
What makes professional live streaming different to social streaming is the creative and legal freedom you maintain. Going live on Facebook might be easy, but you don’t get to keep all the rights or fully restrict who has access to your streams. Use a professional platform to restrict access based on the geographical location or IP ranges, to make sure you are reaching the right audiences.
Embedding your live content onto a site or web page also means you can offer your content ad-free, without having to worry about your content getting lost as a result of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms. Plus, there are no limits to the purpose behind your streams. Whether you are looking to stream a series of live events, offer a continual stream, stream multiple lectures or webinars simultaneously, using a professional streaming platform gives you complete control.
If you’re new to streaming events but are looking to exercise live video as a marketing or sales method, it’s important that your content promotes your brand in the right way. Settling for poor quality or error-prone streaming can do more harm than good for your brand’s online reputation.
At Zidivo, we pride ourselves on offering extensive support to each and every client through the whole process. We understand that things can go wrong when setting up or embedding your streams, which is why we’re always on hand to help. What’s more, we offer a range of monthly pricing plans so clients can choose how much to spend based on their individual budgets and video streaming needs.
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Our 30 day free trial includes access to all features as well as 5GB to get you started. No obligation and no cards required. Just reach out if you want to discuss any aspect of your streaming project.