Facebook is still the place to be if you’re serious about using live-streaming to grow your brand.
42.6% of all live streams broadcast in the United States are viewed on Facebook Live.
More to the point, more viewers between the ages of 25 and 44 watch livestreams on Facebook Live than on any other social media platform (move over YouTube, Instagram, and, yes, you too TikTok).
But how do you gauge if your Facebook Live videos are reaching your target audience and having the intended effect?
Can you even see who is watching your live stream?
We reveal all below.
How to use Facebook Live
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of Facebook Live‘s analytics, here’s a quick recap of how the streaming platform works.
You can livestream on Facebook Live from your desktop computer or laptop, a mobile device, or using streaming software — these are third-party platforms with advanced features that aren’t available on Facebook’s stock apps — for up to 8 hours.
Better still, users don’t need to sign in to Facebook (or even have a Facebook account) to tune in and watch your stream. And going live is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. Choose the page you want to go live from
You can start a Facebook Live stream from a profile page, business page, group page, or event page (more on this in a minute).
If you’re streaming from the Facebook app, press the ‘What’s on your mind?‘ prompt in your main feed, or navigate to the page you want to livestream from, press Create a Post, and choose Live Video.
If you’re streaming from your browser, press Live Video.
This is right under the ‘What’s on your mind?’ prompt in your main feed or under Create Post if you’re on a company or group page.
Facebook will give you two options:
You can go live straight away. Or, alternatively, you can schedule a livestream for a later date.
The benefit of the second option is that your audience will know when you’ll be going live in advance. This will make it easier for them to plan ahead so they can make it to your live event and, at the same time, give you an opportunity to gauge interest and boost attendance by promoting the event.
Step 2: Configure your Facebook Live settings
Facebook Live has several settings you can adjust to fine-tune your livestream.
First, you can pick video and audio sources of your choosing.
As we’ve mentioned above, you can boost your capabilities and production values significantly with specialized streaming software and a high-end webcam and microphone setup.
But if you’re just getting started with live streaming and want to test the waters to see how you get on, your device’s built-in webcam and microphone will do just fine. In fact, a somewhat rough and ready livestream might even feel more authentic to your audience. And authenticity is a big part of live-streaming’s appeal.
Next, you can write a short description of your livestream, so your audience will know what it’s about before they tune in.
You can also display your location by checking in, pick an emoji that represents how you’re feeling or what’s happening in the livestream, share to other Facebook pages and to your Facebook Story for greater reach, and set a thumbnail image users will see when they pause or stop the stream.
Finally, you can choose who can and can’t see your livestream.
Facebook lets you restrict your audience by age and location. This is handy if you’re looking to target a specific demographic (or if your content isn’t suitable for everyone).
Step 3: Customize your live stream
Facebook Live has several features to help you encourage participation and boost engagement during your livestream. You can:
- Create polls in advance and collect audience responses in real time
- Add featured links to your livestream, such as a link your website or online store
- Moderate comments in real time, including limiting who can comment and how often they can comment. You can also appoint a trusted viewer as a moderator
- Highlight your most engaged viewers to show your appreciation
- Let viewers earn badges for performing certain actions, such as sending Stars — viewers can buy Stars ahead of time and share them with you during the stream to show their appreciation
- Add a ‘donate’ button, for example if you’re crowdfunding or live-streaming a charity event
- Add product listings — perfect for product launches and live demos
So far so good. But how do I see who viewed my Facebook Live?
During a Facebook Live stream, you can see every individual who comments or interacts with your stream. Comments and interactions will appear below your video feed (or on the right hand side of the screen if you’re streaming from your browser).
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see which specific individuals viewed your Facebook Live after your livestream ends.
That said, as with pre-recorded videos, you can see a wide range of analytics for past Facebook Live streams, including:
- Peak concurrent viewers, that is the highest number of viewers who were watching during the livestream
- The total number of viewers at every point in the livestream
- Average watch time
- Viewer demographics
- % completion, that is how much of your livestream or recording the typical viewer watched
- The number of 10-second views
- The number of reactions, comments, and shares
Clicking on a specific metric will also show you how that metric changed over the duration of the livestream.
To access your Facebook Live analytics, head over to your business page, press Insights, and then press Videos and Top Videos. Pick a video to see the analytics for it.
Facebook Live analytics, in a nutshell
If you want to build an authentic connection with a highly engaged audience, it doesn’t get much better than streaming on Facebook Live.
Live streaming is as transparent and interactive as you can possibly be online.
It costs next to nothing to get started.
And, best of all, Facebook has 2.91 billion monthly active users — 82% of whom prefer live video over any other type of content — plus a whole host of analytics you can look at to measure your results.
Just remember to focus on the analytics that actually matter for your brand, not on vanity metrics.
At the end of the day, quality always wins out over quantity. It’s better to have 100 viewers who are all commenting and reacting to your livestream, than 3,000 viewers and tumbleweeds in your comments section.
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