Get A Life, Don't Go Live

I had a LOL moment, as the kids say, the other day. I was watching a launch video from a household name which, of course, the rules of trendy marketing dictate had to be on Facebook Live. And guess what -- it was awful. The new super cool thing that every brand feels they have to do to stay "relevant" was an embarrassing flop, in my opinion.

Still the reviewers were kind. As the presenters stumbled over their words, i kid you not, one of them got a comment of well done  from their nan. Apparently mum sent it, but nan was watching live and loving every minute. There were a couple of "thumbs up" likes flashing across the screen periodically. Presumably, the other presenter's mum and nan were watching too and thumbing their approval.

The really funny thing is, when I went back later to see how the video had done, it has received a few thousand views. This was way above the live audience and so begs the question, when the majority of views came about after the event, why bother with live video? There's everything to lose and nothing to gain. Shown live, people will notice that only the presenter's family are leaving comments, viewing numbers are embarrassingly low and everything looks a little ad hoc -- and for want of a better word, live. What's wrong with a slick, professional video that has -- and this is the crucial bit -- been edited so not only the production looks great but the presenters do too?

Don't get me wrong -- I have nothing against live video. It's fantastic for news coverage, such as when Channel 4 streaming events live, often parliamentary debates. Someone who is at a major events, such as the many women's marches around the world last weekend, becomes instantly fascinating because they are in the middle of something big that we all want a glimpse of. So, unless a brand marketer is being held up in a bank heist or is part of a rapidly unfolding emergency situation that will make the evening news, they really should think very long and hard about using the medium.

I am completely in agreement with Marketing Week, which raises the point with the sad reflection that no matter how obvious it is that it is a waste of time and budget, many will go live this year because it's seen as the thing to do. 

The irony is that as video goes mobile, your audience is becoming increasingly less receptive to long-form video. BuzzFeed's golden rule is that nothing can ever be over 90 seconds. So in that landscape, how can anyone justify boring the pants off potential viewers with a 45-minute live coverage of their latest conference event or launch?

Of course they can't. If I can't even be bothered to watch a few minutes of my mates going live on a ski run or enjoying a gig, the likelihood that I am tempted by a brand unveiling a new product or talking about their industry is so small I don't think it can be measured. But, it's new, hip -- and a marketing manager will assume it's something Millennials are doing, so the budget will go there.

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