Bolt from LiveRail brings Facebook back from ‘dead’

By July 11, 2014 No Comments

You’d be forgiven for thinking Dr Frankenstein had a quota to fill the number of times a year people say Facebook is dead before it’s magically reanimated. And yet a new acquisition repositions the world’s most popular social network as the go-to place for video content marketing.

Facebook’s user base currently approaches 1 billion. And despite losing a few friends lately – over an algorithm change that badly affected brands’ reach on the platform, and a dubious study into user mood (which would have been scientifically quite interesting had its participants known about it) – it seems that for the time being brand engagement on Facebook is back on the up, so says a recent report by social media analyst Socialbakers.

Quality driving social engagement

Socialbakers reckons the quality of branded content on people’s News Feeds is driving the upward trend in engagement. In other words, companies realise just how effective good content marketing can be if you can give your audience something of real value.

Facebook’s desire to amplify that in as many ways possible is no doubt the reason why everyone’s favourite social site has shelled out a reported $500m for LiveRail.

LiveRail is primarily an online video advertising platform, connecting publishers with advertisers. It employs a similar system to online banner ads, where real-time bidding exchanges take microseconds to sell the ad space.

LiveRail’s impressive client list suggests a lot of money is being put towards producing online video content, which may well be taking bigger and bigger bites out of TV ad budgets. Indeed, we’re already seeing much shorter TV ads point the audience in the direction of an accompanying YouTube campaign. Just look at Nike’s tantalising World Cup campaign.

Facebook content markets itself

Facebook intends to make a mutual swap of the two companies’ combined targeting powers and capabilities with big data. As such, the knock-on effect in content marketing terms could be significant, not least through content amplification using strategic paid promotion.

Moreover, the acquisition in itself serves as somewhat of a content marketing move by Facebook, amplified of course by its publicity and a sizable price tag.

The face of video

The deal positions Facebook as the place-to-be to host video content. In turn this should help to soften opinion on Facebook’s historically unpopular ad policy – certainly one factor that leads many to claim that Facebook is perennially on its last legs – as users are promised video ads that are more directly relevant to them. This may not be the social utopia purists would hope for, but I’d rather that than being bombarded by adverts for nappies. I haven’t used those for a good few years now.

For brands to be seen on Facebook and sustain their level of engagement with users, companies must produce a higher level of quality content, not just to compete for attention but also to compensate for the algorithm changes. Content marketing amplification is useless without quality content to amplify.

Now, given LiveRail’s significantly increased powers and organic reach in both video hosting and video targeting, Facebook could draw the creatives – both the professionals and the hobbyists – back to its shores with a renewed and reanimated impetus. 

Incidentally, Southerly is particularly interested in the ‘LiveRail effect’ on Facebook content marketing because we’re launching our new series of video blogs soon – watch this space.

How Facebook decides to implement LiveRail’s capabilities remains to be seen. But with a monumental deal to acquire WhatsApp earlier this year, and with Instagram’s short-form video hosting putting the company directly in Vine’s firing line, Facebook makes it patently clear to everyone that it is diversifying the platform, staying down with the kids and updating its status as the biggest player in social media marketing. The big friendly monster just got another bolt through its neck.

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