Brands and social media platforms are reassessing their relationship

April 17, 2018

It was described as a digital ‘nuclear bomb’. Although marketing loves hyperbole, Adweek wasn’t wrong in finding Facebook’s algorithm change, announced at the beginning of this year, as cataclysmic. Designed as a response to criticism that the social network had become more promotional than personal, the social media giant said they would be altering their ranking settings to “show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses”.

Facebook’s new goal, it stated, was ‘meaningful interaction’. It wants to prioritise posts with back-and-forth discussion, from friends seeking recommendations to news articles or videos which prompt a slew of comments. In doing so, it hopes to distance itself from accusations that its site is in thrall to corporations and does more harm than good.

So, where does this leave brands and their content? It’s clear that now more than ever, engagement is everything. Garnering interaction on posts is not just a way to drive sales to your business — it determines whether your business is even seen. And when it comes to creating engaging content, there’s only one winner: live video.

Time and again, the stats show that it is live video which is creating those meaningful interactions. According to social media analytics company Socialbakers, live video gets 200% more engagement than pre-recorded content. In an age where social media interactions now determine whether a brand stays viable, live streaming is something which companies can’t afford to ignore.

And it’s not just Facebook who is making changes which favour live content. Last month YouTube Live announced a range of new features including chat replay, where followers can see live chat conversations occurring as in real time, even when streaming has ended. That Youtube is making it easier to have a similar streaming experience even after the event suggests that live video will soon become the future of all filmed content.

Live video’s ability to solicit an active audience is of increasing value at at time when brands are feeling the social media kickback. Through doubled engagement rates it generates those ‘meaningful interactions’ which networks now seek to prioritise and allows companies to straddle the line between the public and the personal. Facebook’s new algorithms may have changed the game but there’s one way to keep playing.

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