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Mobile Video Builds Audience, With Dollars To Follow

As previously announced, Instagram is adding live video to its popular service. Taking a page from Snapchat, meanwhile, the live videos will "disappear" after they've been streamed.

Technically, the live video will live on Instagram Stories, while the disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends will exist on Instagram Direct.

Introduced in August, 100 million people now use Instagram Stories to share series of daily moments with followers. Now that they can stream their stories live, the Facebook unit is hoping to increase that number dramatically.

Video, of course, means the world to Facebook.

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As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a recent earnings call: “We’re putting video first.”

Last month, the social giant even launched a major ad campaign for Facebook Live.

The multiplatform campaign includes TV and out-of-home spots -- including billboards and bus wraps -- as well as digital spots that will run both on and off Facebook’s flagship property.

Since May, the number of people broadcasting live at any given minute has grown by about 400%, according to internal Facebook figures. It is clearly an engagement magnet, and Facebook has also seen that users comment over 10 times more on Live videos than on regular videos.

Although broadcasts from public figures and publishers have generated some of Live’s largest audiences, the vast majority of live videos come from regular folks, Facebook finds.

Presently, new mobile video services -- from Facebook Live to Twitter’s Periscope -- are more focused on building audience. “We expect direct monetization to follow,” Nitesh Patel, a director at Strategy Analytics, said in a recent report.

As such, worldwide revenue from mobile video will reach $25 billion by 2021, according to the research firm.

The success of Live is such a big deal to Facebook that the tech giant has been dishing out around $50 million to coax top media publishers and celebs to use it.

Since Instagram launched improvements to Instagram Direct last year, the number of people using the serve each month has grown from 80 million to 300 million, worldwide.

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