Be Live, Be Square

Jon Prest - July 20, 2016

Once again, mobile video is changing. This time, it’s not due to trend, style or fashion: it’s primarily down to a hunger for raw and real-time, internet speed and the ergonomics of the 21st century essentiality of life… the smart phone.

Whether it’s an Android or an iPhone, we all have one. Because of this technology, and ‘with more open Wi-Fi networks and faster 4G mobile networks than ever before’, video has since metamorphosed in its format and how we actually use it.

facebook live

‘Live streaming looks set to become as regular a part of our lives as Googling and Snapchatting.’ From live video to square video, and even the visual content of videos that we see on platforms such as our Facebook news feed, video has really changed, and it’s time to celebrate it.  

Live Video?

Data from Pivotal Research Group shows that almost 80% of US video viewing still takes place through live TV, while digital video recorders account for 9%, and computers, mobiles and other devices represent just over 10% in total.’

That said, there has been an increase in video on devices such as mobiles and computers because of a newly established live video format. For example, Twitter has its app Periscope and Facebook has Live Video.

So let’s have a look at Periscope. Last year, Twitter launched the app, allowing users to broadcast live, globally or specifically, to selected people. You can also turn the camera onto yourself whilst live streaming, to record that all-important video selfie, and unlike competitor Meerkat, you can actually line up the shot before you go live.

Periscope App

Kayvon Beykpour, Periscope co-founder, said, “We’re not building a live streaming company, we’re building a teleportation company.”. The viewer is teleported to the live action and, if you enjoy the live stream as much as the broadcaster, then just tap your phone screen to send a ‘heart’. You can also see who is viewing your stream, even if you haven’t received any hearts from them.

There are some other special features, like the TV icon that shows which of your friends are streaming live; and the globe icon, which is the default display of the latest global streams. It’s easy to tell who is live: there is a red circle over the area where someone is live streaming, and a blue circle when the video is no longer real-time. The app also saves your videos, unlike Snapchat’s disappearing act, allowing you to view the video up to 24 hours later.

If you publically stream, those who join your broadcast can share it with their Periscope followers, on Twitter, on Facebook or copy and share the link. If you choose to tweet, people can watch the video on their Twitter timeline, and retweet your link to stream to their audience, so there could be a plethora of people watching your video. There’s also a replay option if a viewer didn’t enjoy the broadcast enough first time.

If you don’t want the whole world seeing what you’re doing then only invite chosen mutuals, (you follow each other) ‘or select specific people to invite.’ Only these people can interact with your broadcast and no one can share it if you don’t want them to.

Another handy aspect is: ‘When you privately broadcast a video, the video and a summary of broadcast information (title, and when and where you broadcast) will be available to the followers you have invited, unless you choose to delete it.

Facebook Live

    facebook live        


Periscope App

As you can see, side-by-side the apps look somewhat homogeneous, but the creators of Periscope don’t seem to be too bothered about the competition in the new Facebook Live app. However, they should be, because the functionalities are rather similar.

Like Periscope, the Facebook Live app lets you stream privately and publically; lets viewers invite other Facebook users to watch; and has similar reactions which float along the screen like Periscopes hearts. Also, the live video map shows the location of other broadcasters globally.

There are some differences though, for example you can choose topics (e.g. cooking) to follow, and then Facebook alerts you when a broadcast goes live on those topics. Rather than selecting people you want to allow to watch, this app lets you stream within private Facebook groups that you belong to (if the group allows it) and only the people in the group can see the video, such as broadcasting to a page for an event that you are attending. However, you can either select for only friends to see, it or select it to go public.

There are some other nifty features, like video filter, which can be added to your broadcast to give it that extra ‘zing’ for visual content, and the ‘reactions’ that float across the page are more diverse than Periscope: just have a look for yourself…

Facebook Reactions

A key difference is that you can boost your video after live broadcasting. If you’re advertising, choosing to boost your video will mean it will ‘appear higher in News Feed and on Instagram, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them.’. If you want your video to reach more people, you can increase your budget. This feature is really good for businesses wanting to expand their products to a larger audience and is made accessible because the app works within Facebook.

Target your boost to people who like your page, as well as their friends or anyone else you want to specifically target in terms of location, interests, age and gender. Then, just watch the influx of ‘likes’.

On the whole, both apps have changed the way we use video, by making video experience interactive and more like a virtual reality, compared to the less personal, standard videos seen on social media. Only time will tell who wins this battle, but for businesses, Facebook Live may have snatched the gold.

jaspers market

What’s Square Video?

You may not have noticed this, but recently square video has emerged onto our phone screens and made viewing far more enjoyable. In a study, 90% of 20 most shared videos on Facebook were in square format and ‘BuzzFeed found that 75% of their most shared videos over a one month period were in a square.’ Facebook recommends for businesses that image size is 1,200 x 628 pixels so that potential customers can watch your videos easily.

We’re used to easy watching without rotating on ‘natively vertical platforms like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.’ This concept has therefore been facilitated by Facebook so that we don’t find the process of watching video completely enduring. It’s all about simplicity.

How Long are The Videos?

Since we watch a lot of video on our phones, it makes sense that the most popular videos are quite short; who wants to sit around holding a phone to watch a long video when there’s a TV in the other room? Here are the facts:

Facebook Video Length

What’s Makes Them Special?

In a lot of these popular videos, the content is action based because people want to watch a video, not read it! Facebook even recommends only using 90 characters for the text, (around 45 words). The Headline 25 characters, and Link description 30 characters. You can have up to 2,200 characters but it’s more about the action. Be careful: if you use too many words then your video won’t go active and the reach to your audience will be far less. On Spike, it’s obvious that these types of videos do well.

People are obsessed with action because it takes them away from the monotonous. If you still need words then using subtitles is probably the best way to use text in an ad because they are perfectly sized, making them easy to read. Therefore, the user is more likely to watch the video and there’s proof ofa 30-50% increase in the average view times for videos on Facebook.”

Thunderbolt Display

McDonald’s uses subtitles well by placing appropriately sized writing in their Facebook Videos, for example here: (bigflavourwrap/bbq). Easy to read, isn’t it?

Videos can be watched without sound. The concept of auto-play can make a really big difference for video, especially for business. Companies can get their message over to the audience quickly using video, because it tells a story far more easily than a page of words.

Also there’s no embarrassment of the volume blaring out of your phone when you click to view, and it gets people watching a video they may not have chosen to click on before.

Companies can also use platforms such as Facebook, with its 1.6 billion users, to promote their brand through video by using ‘call to action’ when a clip is finished. This means that the person watching can play more videos/replay/download etc., and, if your video is under 30 seconds, ‘videos will loop continuously up to approximately 90 seconds.

There’s 360 Video

Last year, 360 video was launched on YouTube and Facebook, so people can now view these special videos on their timelines/phones. For Facebook, it has the same effect Live video does, because family and friends can now see what you’re up to in a more visually satisfying manner, compared to that standard straight shot.

It’s also really easy to do. Just grab a GoPro Hero4 camera or maybe a Ricoh Theta S and start filming.

Uploading to Facebook is even easier: If the video was recorded with a 360 or spherical camera system that adds 360 metadata to the video file, then you can upload a 360 video to your personal Timeline the same way you’d upload any other video. If not, just click here to find out how to do it. 

Uploading to YouTube is a little bit more complicated but there is step by step guidance. You can view both YouTube and Facebook 360 video on your phones by downloading the latest version of the apps. If you want to watch it on your computer/laptop, then download the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Viewing on mobiles is simple: drag your finger across the screen or or turn the phone sideways to navigate. On a computer, just drag the mouse and you can see all around.

Facebook panoramic photos

The only problem is the resolution, as most 360 players compress the file video when you upload. If you have a higher starting resolution, it’ll look better when uploaded. For YouTube, ‘max out the resolution to 4K if it allows. On Facebook make sure to select the HD option.’. So, the viewing quality isn’t the best.

Other problems are in the stitching. If you’re not using something like the Ricoh Theta Camera, which takes the 360 shot all on one camera, then the stitching where one lense meets another may crop out people and objects.You could have Kolor do it for you but it could cost $650.

360 video is a very new launch on both these platforms and, again, it’s yet another example of how video is allowing people to interact with one another in this virtual reality. It’s safe to say we’ve only seen the beginning and who knows – it may even go live.

How do Businesses Use Video?

Coca-Cola is a big business that uses video to sell its brand:

Coca-Cola have used video through Instagram, and they’ve employed key characteristics to make their video pop on this platform. Firstly, they hashtag: #ShareaCoke! This helps build the brand and reputation. You can even hashtag causes that the company supports, or special holidays like Coca-Cola did for #FathersDay. By doing this, they connect their video to other videos and pictures that already exist under the same tag.

Using Instagram video is really good for businesses as it has over 500 million followers, and so is a perfect place to create video to deliver to your audience. It’s also connected to Facebook, so your video can again be seen by friends and family if you link the two through your app settings.


How do People Use It?

Normal people like you and I don’t need to advertise, which is why we use platforms like Snapchat. It’s far more informal, so we can have a mess about with videos and pictures that disappear. Businesses can use it and it’s great as they can connect to people on a one-to-one basis with fun little videos, making them appear down to earth. Clearly, Snapchat is more for mass use: I don’t think businesses really need to use the dog filter…but it’s fun!

What’s in it for Businesses?

Using video in these formats allows businesses to express a narrative of their philosophy and aspirations as a brand.  The customer is allowed ‘backstage’ in the company, so they feel connected to it.

Nowadays, the average person is on Facebook, so he or she can see live videos. Or, they’re on Twitter and so receive links from Periscope. So, being on these video platforms is the best way to show off your brand personality and really connect with each and every person through video, rather than being disconnected.

If you’re thinking about expanding your brand, then video is an incredibly targeted, creative and resourceful way of doing it. Script, film, edit and post it. Become connected to your audience in a way that you’ve never done before.

Written by Ellena Edwards

Seed Creativity Copy Writer