YouTube Live

YouTube is arguably the largest online video platform on the internet (though Facebook is providing some tough competition), so it is interesting that the platform has been one of the slowest to provide a widely available way to live stream.

That may be starting to change, however, as YouTube is significantly lowering the number of subscribers a user needs before being able to stream.

YouTube only introduced its public live streaming feature back in February, although it has partnered with large events to provide live streams for years. Even then, a user needed to have at least 10,000 subscribers before they were allowed to start streaming.

Over the past week, that threshold was quietly reduced to just 1,000 subscribers. Rather than announce the change, it was only discovered after a change to one of YouTube’s help pages.

The subscriber requirement is just one of a couple different stipulations required for streaming. Users must also have a verified channel and have not received any live stream restrictions in the past 90 days. Live stream restrictions are punishments placed against channels that have violated YouTube’s terms of services.

To start a live stream, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the camera icon
  • Grant permissions allowing the YouTube app to access the Camera, Mic, and Storage.
  • Verify your account if you have not previously.
  • Tap GO LIVE.
  • Name your live video and set the privacy setting for your stream
  • Tap FINISH when you’re ready to end the stream

YouTubeAds

Finding the right length for video ads can be a tricky balancing act. Too short and you can’t get your message across. Too long and you annoy or lose your viewers’ interest. Apparently, 30-second ads fail this tightrope walk, as YouTube has officially announced it will be doing away with 30-second unskippable ads starting next year.

In place of these ads, Google says it will focus on more interactive or user-based advertising.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a YouTube spokesperson told AdWeek via email.

Of course, this doesn’t mean YouTube is ridding itself of all unskippable ads. The platform will still sell 15-second and 20-second ads that don’t give viewers the option to skip to their content. Additionally, viewers are likely to see an influx of six-second “bumper ads” instead of full-length ads that you can skip after five seconds.

Ultimately, 30-second unskippable ads lose too many viewers along the way. Some get distracted during the interval, while others entirely refuse to wait that long for their content. There is still plenty of time to make use of any ad campaigns you’ve been planning, but the decision to move away from this ad format underscores the ineffective nature of the format.

YouTube has been teasing its plans to expand its live streaming services for over eight months, and that plan is finally coming to fruition. The video platform says it is bringing mobile live streaming to its biggest content creators, with plans to share the feature with everyone soon.

YouTube is also releasing a new chat tool known as Super Chat to help creators monetize live streams.

Mobile Live Streaming

YouTube has built mobile live streaming directly into its mobile app, with a single catch. You must have at least 10,000 subscribers to use it. If you happen to already have a sizable following, launching a mobile live stream is as simple as opening the app and tapping the capture button.

The company plans to bring the tool to everyone in the coming months, but there is currently no firm estimate of when to expect it.

In the announcement, YouTube says streamed videos will have all the features you expect from normal YouTube videos. Streamed videos will be:

  • Searchable.
  • Discoverable via recommendations and playlists.
  • Protected from unauthorized use (using Content ID).

Super Chat

To accompany the release of mobile live streaming YouTube has also launched Super Chat, aimed at monetizing live content.

Super Chat essentially lets any viewer purchase a chat message that will be especially prominent in the chat feed and can be pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours. Super Chat messages will also be highlighted with a color and other viewers can see the amount paid.

CameoFlow

Super Chat is now live to creators with 10,000 subscribers across 20 countries and viewers in over 40 countries.

The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest day of the year with brands spending millions to get their products in the spotlight. Many tune in just to enjoy the biggest ads of the year and this year commercials gave audiences a fair share of laughs, pangs of nostalgia, and surprises – though maybe not anything as shocking as the Patriot’s comeback.

Of course, these days you don’t have to sit through the big-game (and insanely long pre-show) to see the ads. Several advertisers shared their campaigns early on YouTube, and the others were uploaded as they aired for you to watch and re-watch.

To make sure you catch the best and biggest ads of this year’s Super Bowl, I collected five of the most unforgettable commercials you’re likely to hear people talking about:

Snickers Live Commercial

https://youtu.be/_9M_wQDTTdk

Most brands spend weeks shooting and editing their commercials ahead of the game to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Snickers took a different route this year with a live commercial starring Adam Driver which ends in a (perfectly orchestrated) catastrophe. It’s a novel twist on the typical Super Bowl ad in a way that perfectly ties into the message, and I predict other brands may follow their lead in the future.

Avocados From Mexico

https://youtu.be/VneoEvAJX0g

Comedy in Super Bowl ads usually boils down to celebrities doing zany things (and yes, we will get to one of those soon). But, the funniest ad in this year’s game is almost entirely celebrity free – aside from SNL’s Jon Lovitz, if you consider him a celebrity.

Instead, it sets up a simple premise of a secret society gathering to discuss their recent leaks, including all the most well-known conspiracy theories. Even better, the brand took a risk and slipped in a “Deflategate” joke knowing there was a good chance the Patriots would make it to the Super Bowl – and it payed off beautifully.

T-Mobile – #NSFWireless

https://youtu.be/pNCG9fHGXB0

T-Mobile went with the “celebrities doing zany things” angle this year, with mixed results. While the dancing Justin Bieber ads were eye-rollingly awkward, two hilarious commercials starring comedian and actress Kristen Schaal more than make up for their missteps.

Schaal, playing a Verizon customer addicted to being treated poorly by her service provider, perfectly sells the message that only a masochist would enjoy the customer experience of T-Mobile’s competitors.

It’s a 10 – Four Years

Perhaps unsurprisingly, politics also played a major role in ad campaigns from several advertisers including Budweiser and Audi. While those ads were beautiful, my favorite political ad of the night took a lighter tone. Opening with “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair,” It’s a 10 urges viewers to “do your part by making up for it with great hair.”

Understated and smart, the brand left a mark on their night with a truly bipartisan message urging everyone to take pride in their hair.

Tide Cleans Terry Bradshaw’s Shirt

https://youtu.be/jF3otdfvSBQ

Terry Bradshaw and Tide teamed up last night to tear down the walls between reality and advertisements like never seen before. Many viewers noted that Bradshaw returned from commercial in the second quarter with a conspicuously large stain on his shirt, which prompted mass ridicule on social media.

But, the joke was on us. Bradshaw’s stain was setting up a Tide ad telling an epic journey from the broadcasting booth to actor Jeffrey Tambor’s house to clean out the stain and do some quiet sitting in front of the TV. The ending is enjoyable enough on its own, but the creative breaking of the fourth wall makes Tide’s campaign a standout ad of the night.

facebook-video

Over the past year or so you have probably noticed a pretty big shift happening on your Facebook News Feed. Video content has taken over, making up a huge portion of what you see on the platform.

To help sort through the influx of videos, Facebook is refining their News Feed algorithm with a new video ranking signal for videos: completion rates. Facebook has used several metrics in the past for ranking videos – including how long a person watched the video.

The problem is these metrics often benefitted shorter videos that don’t necessarily have as much value as longer video content

As the company explains in a recent update:

“One of the signals we look at is ‘percent completion’ — the percent of each video you watch — to help us understand which videos you enjoyed. If you watch most or all of a video, that tells us that you found the video to be compelling — and we know that completing a longer video is a bigger commitment than completing a shorter one. As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos.”

For the most part, the new metric shouldn’t affect most pages sharing video content. However, they say “some shorter videos may see a slight dip in News Feed distribution.”

The key takeaway is that if you want your videos to be seen on Facebook, they have to be engaging – no matter their length.

YouTube Ads

YouTube may be one of Google’s largest platforms, but it gets treated a bit like the black sheep when it comes to Google’s ad services. Targeting has been limited compared to typical AdWords options, and ad options have been built around desktop functionality first.

This is all starting to change, as Google says it is rolling out several updates aimed to make advertising on YouTube better on both mobile and desktop. The announcement also mentioned that over 50% of YouTube videos are now happening on mobile, which likely motivated the change in how they think about ads on the platform.

Target Advertising

Google is now allowing YouTube ads to utilize information associated with users’ Google accounts like their search history, demographic information, and whether the viewer has engaged with an advertiser in the past to better target who sees your ad.

More Focus on Mobile

In response to the increasingly mobile viewership of YouTube, Google is shifting away from a desktop-first mindset. To do this, they are moving from using cookies and pixels because they were not designed for targeting users on YouTube’s mobile, TV, and set-top box apps. The hope is to make tracking and ad functionality more accurate across all devices.

Better Control of What Ads You See

Not all of the new changes are limited to advertisers. Google is also introducing the option for users to device what ads they see on both Google and YouTube from one location. For example, if a user mutes a specific advertiser in Search, the advertiser will also be muted for the user when they watch videos on YouTube.

Video finally came into its own as a content marketing format over the past year, with the launch of 360-degree videos, Facebook Live, and all sorts of new features for video marketing on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

It was only a matter of time, as video has been a huge part of the online ecosystem since the launch of YouTube all those years ago. Currently, estimates suggest up to 78% of all people watch videos online every week and 55% percent make it a daily activity.  That means if you have been ignoring online video as a marketing channel for your business, you’re missing out on a huge and highly engaged audience.

With the start of the new year, many businesses are considering finally making video marketing a part of their larger advertising strategy. If you aren’t, you might want to reconsider. This infographic created by HighQ shows exactly why 2017 is poised to be the year video marketing blows up. You don’t want to be lagging behind when it does.

Video Marketing Infographic

instagramlive

Instagram’s live video feature is officially available to all 70 million US users. After announcing the feature in late November, the social imaging platform has announced the feature is available across America and will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks.

While it may be tempting to compare Instagram’s live video streaming to Facebook’s growing live feature, it is actually more similar to the live options available through Snapchat.

With Instagram’s live video, users can broadcast to followers in real time through Instagram Stories. However, once the stream is over it is completely gone. There is no saving or replaying old broadcasts. They disappear as soon as you end the broadcast.

How To Get Started Broadcasting

To get started streaming, you just have to follow a couple easy steps.

  • Tap the camera icon in the top left of the screen or swipe right from the Feed to open your camera.
  • Tap the new Live icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap Start Live Video.
  • Once you are ready to end your stream, just tap End in the top right.

Broadcasts can last up to one hour and you can choose to notify your followers when you go live. The number in the top right corner of the screen shows just how many followers are watching, and you can pin or share comments to others by tapping and holding it. You can also turn off comments entirely if you desire.

Marketing with Instagram Live Video

The idea of marketing your business through live video that immediately disappears may seem unattractive at first. Why bother with vanishing video when you can spend time crafting marketing campaigns that last, right?

However, live video can actually be a great way to make followers feel like they are in on exclusive events and information. The function is especially great for letting your customers and fans see special engagements like product launches or milestones for your business.

You can also use live video to engage your audience in new ways with impromptu interviews or Q&A sessions that help your followers learn more about who you are and why they should be invested in your brand.

For more info on Instagram’s live video feature, check out the video below:

instagramlive

Considering the success of live video on Facebook and other social media platforms, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Instagram is trying its hand with live video. But, they have put their own twist on it.

Today, the social photo and video sharing platform announced it is rolling out live video within their Instagram Stories section. However, these videos don’t remain once you stop streaming. Instead, they immediately disappear.

The feature is already rolling out and is expected to be available to everyone around the world within the next few weeks. Users are able to share live video for up to an hour and control their streams by notifying friends when they go live and deciding whether to allow comments.

“Live video on Instagram Stories helps you connect with your friends and followers right now,” according to a blog post announcing the update. “When you’re done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime.”

All you have to do to start streaming is swipe right from the home feed and tap the “Start Live Video” button. You can also see who else is live streaming in the Explore area of the app, under the “Top Live” category.

Live video isn’t the only thing disappearing on Instagram, either. The platform is also rolling out the option to have automatically self-destructing photo or video messages when sending direct messages to friends and groups.

The feature operates almost exactly like Snapchat’s well known disappearing photos, which allow users to share content in a “spontaneous, pressure-free way.”

“You can choose a group or create one in just a few taps—and you can also send to individual friends at the same time,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “Send anything you want, from inside jokes to your worst selfies. Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them. And you’ll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.”

vinelogo

Not all that long ago, Vine was one of the fastest growing social apps on the market. The app made its name with short looping videos and a large community that took advantage of the medium to create comedy and even frights.

Since being acquired by Twitter, however, the app has gradually lost its place in the social world as other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have incorporated their own video features. So, perhaps it is unsurprising that Vine has announced it will be ceasing operations and shutting down in the near future.

According to a post shared on Medium, the website and app for vine will remain online so that users will have time to download their Vines and mourn the loss of the app as a community.

The statement didn’t give any firm timeline of when Vine will fully shut its doors, or any explanation as to why Twitter has decided to shutter the app. It is possible Twitter could possibly choose to integrate the app capabilities entirely within its own platform, but so far the company hasn’t made any indication that it plans to do so.

Back in 2012, shortly after it was bought out by Twitter, Vine was sitting as the number 1 app on the iTunes app store and had a consistent 200 million active users. However, the rise of live video and new video features on competing platforms have pushed Vine out of the crowd. According to data from App Annie, Vine is currently sitting at number 284 in the iTunes app store charts for free apps.

Analysis also suggests year-over-year worldwide downloads of the Vine app have been consistently declining across both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

For what it’s worth, Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov only tweet in the wake of the news suggests he regrets letting Twitter take over the company.