Live Video – The biggest trend of 2017?

by Shara Teague

Live video creeped into our subconscious when the big guns of social media giant Facebook, introduced live video in 2016. It had a mixed bag of reactions with organisations either grabbing this new media opportunity or avoiding it at all costs. The reason for this skepticism is the lack of control, organisations are afraid of moving away from the squeaky clean content that forms the perfect brand. However, reports suggest that by 2020 video will account for 82% of global internet traffic.

It isn’t something entirely new as the main domain for live video in social media terms are Snap chat for the short video clips or Twitter owned Periscope that gives insider sneak peeks of the celebrity world. For video content in general, YouTube has always been the go to social media channel.  

But now the big media trend is the idea of ‘LIVE’ content and, in relevance to Public Relations, creating content with an ‘authenticity’ for publics to engage with. The use of video as a customer engagement format that’s real, unedited and unscripted to relate to your audiences.

How it works…

If you hadn’t guessed it in the name, live video is the recording of video content on smart devices, predominantly phones to then stream straight to the chosen social media channel. The most popular currently being Facebook and now Instagram introducing a Snapchat equivalent function, allowing users to post snapshot videos to your timeline. Brock Cooper, SEO and social media management coordinator for All Web Promotion quotes “Facebook really brought live video to the mainstreams, 2016 it was too new, brands were sceptical”

Where did it all begin?

We could say it started with the increase in people owning smart devices – phones, tablets, cameras or popular culture television shows such as reality TV and soaps introducing live episodes. Another example of interest is the idea of ‘Citizen Journalists’ regular people documenting shocking events recorded by smart devices that create instant news. One frightening event that stood out to me was the killing of soldier Lee Rigby outside army barracks in London. One video recorded shows one Islamic terrorist, blood on his hands, frantically expressing his right to kill. Truly terrifying.

Things to consider…


  • The length. Because of the amount of information we process daily, concentration levels are at an all-time low. This is the reason why Snapchat and Instagram stories have been so successful. They provide a snapshot into people’s lives from all over the world. Simple to digest and easy to respond too.  


  • Cost. Live video is a low cost way to experiment with the functions of live video and the response from key audiences and if errors are made, videos only last 24 hours. I recently saw clothing brand Pretty Little Thing stream a live competition which is a brave choice for experimenting.  

  • Don’t underestimate the power of pre-recorded. YouTube is the leading channel with a Zoella-Zoe-Sugg-542301billion users, reaching more people between 18 and 49 than any US cable network according to the media itself. Also dipping into Live Video, You Tube has created a channel for the ‘vlogging generation’ to be bigger influencers than most news media. YouTube sensation Zoella amounts to an impressive 11.5 million subscribers, building an empire from a beauty range, fictional book series and cover girl for most teen magazine publications.

A great example of the use of live video was the Virgin Holidays ‘Seize The Holiday’ Live television advert which live streamed from 18 different destinations they travel to in a 60 second shot. This was launched in an advert break during X Factor. I think it was a brilliant idea, well executed in managing to stream to different locations and in varying time zones. To add to the authentic vibe, there was a technical difficulty when streaming to California meaning loss of footage but overall a great way in creating excitement for the brand and potential bookings.

Here is the link to the Ad:

What are your thoughts?

For the future…

In today’s media landscape which is always threatening to change, live video is an essential way for direct communication., currently, live video receives three times the amount of engagement than pre-recorded, a study by Forrester Research has suggested.

Classed as the ‘new form of television’ live video will inevitably replace traditional press releases and corporate blogs as a way of announcing news.

Also with another up and coming trend of wearable tech, Snapchat introducing ‘spectacles’ to spectacles-centered-3video whilst on your face; this is a trend that is here to stay!

I personally praise content that is authentic and personable to own feelings and thoughts. That way we are more positively engaged and brands will only thrive in 2017!


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