Does Live Video Have A Life For Advertisers?

Some of the first commercials I remember were shown live, because back then, there were kiddie shows hosted by persuasive characters who needed to sell me chocolate milk.

Late-night television from Carson to Colbert, feature unscripted live-like ads — Ed McMahon for Alpo, in the past, and Stephen Colbert for Wonderful nuts or Bud Light now.  

So I get the lure of live Facebook videos on Facebook. They have a way of humanizing a brand. And since brands now are all about being liked in a personal kind of way, what’s better than Facebook where users go around liking stuff all the time?

CMO, a site Adobe creates for marketers, has essayed a paean to the strength of live ads, using as examples well known ones like the marathon Snickers live event before the Super Bowl, which Snickers claims “engaged with” about 1 billion people.



Snickers was talking about stories on various media and with influencers about the ad event. The actual live stream only got 118,000 views. And it turns out many of Facebook Live’s real, live audiences are likewise in the range of a crowd for a Big 10 football game.

But, CMO argues, they’re an enthusiastic bunch, and a bonus is that, according to “advertisers can see what members of an audience have liked, where they’re located, and demographic information. That means even if the view count is relatively low, there’s a much better chance that those viewers will buy what an advertiser is selling.”

Also, comments on Facebook Live ad material gets 10 times as many comments as does a typical Facebook video ad.

I’m not exactly sold on the greatness of live. It seems marketers can make use of live video best mainly by hyping the fact that they’re doing live video — and hoping the earned media gets them the actual live exposure does not.

For some products and brands, live gives that intimate detail — how they make the product — or otherwise humanizing the corporate stiffs, possibly just for the benefit of their underlings.

Facebook used to pay publishers to produce live videos. No more.

The platforms are moving toward mid-roll ads (on Facebook and Perisicope) which, I would guess, the idea works better.  You might not show up for an advertiser’s live event, but if you’re watching something/anything else, you’d be more likely to stick around for the mid-roll pitch.

But at this point, it seems the best thing to say about live video and live video advertising is that it will probably get better as the people trying it figure out what works.

Alpo should give it a look.

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