- Research from UBS Evidence Lab comparing June to November 2016 found that Facebook’s push into live video paid off, as reported by eMarketer. In June, 21% of U.S. internet users reported watching live video on YouTube while 14% reported the same for Facebook Live. Move forward several months to November and only 16% reported watching the format on YouTube, while 17% watched on Facebook.
- Other platforms in the study include Snapchat Live Stories (12% in November, down from 14% in June) and Twitter’s Periscope (9% in November, down from 11%).
- Facebook Live was the only platform that increased over the five months tracked, and the total percentage of live streaming video viewers actually dropped from June to November.
Live streaming video is still in its infancy and remains a somewhat niche format, but has gained a lot of attention from marketers. Facebook has also been heavily pushing the format, paying publishers to create live content, a practice it is reportedly now ending as it shifts the focus for live to encouraging users to create content.
While the total number of viewers didn’t drop by too much, given the emphasis social media platforms are placing on live video, marketers would prefer to see a rising trend line before dedicating too many resources to the format. However, there are standout examples, with Candace Payne's Chewbacca Mom live video reaching 162 million views on Facebook. With numbers like this, Facebook may be pushing for authentic user content for its Live platform over the more produced content publishers put out.
Paul Verna, senior analyst eMarketer said the results likely point to the infancy of the live market and a lack of understanding among consumers about how it works. For example, YouTube content is mostly archived which possibly confused survey respondents who didn’t realize they were watching live video. Verna also cited the success of Facebook’s live video investments saying the data show it is becoming a leader in a fluid marketplace.