Facebook tests new live video-streaming feature in the US

Gives brands a new option for real-time conversations

Facebook is beginning to roll out its live video-streaming feature to the general public.

The functionality, made available to celebrities and public figures in August, is now being offered to a small percentage of iPhone users in the US, said the company.  

The move brings Facebook squarely in competition with other live video-streaming platforms like Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat and brings a new real-time advertising vehicle to brands hungry to reach consumers on social media. Twitter-owned Periscope, for example, has attracted the attention of many marketers since it made its debut in March, including Royal Caribbean, Target and Taco Bell.

Facebook’s new feature provides the same opportunity to advertisers, to announce new products, host discussions with consumers, or record news events as they happen. Given the fact that the social media platform has a billion daily users, promotional videos on Facebook could potentially reach much larger audiences than Periscope and Meerkat.

Advertisers could also target more diverse audiences, said Joe McCaffrey, head of social media at Huge Inc. "Brands have different followers on Facebook and can potentially reach broader demographics, as opposed to the younger audiences that are attracted to emerging platforms," McCaffrey said.

The user experience may also be smoother for consumers. It "can be more streamlined to live solely within a Facebook feed, as opposed to a user needing to toggle back and forth between Periscope and Twitter to follow a story," McCaffrey added.

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