FB Introduces Audio-Only Facebook Live Broadcasts

Podcasting has seen a big increase in over the past few years.

According to Edison Research, podcast listenership grew 24% between 2015 and 2016, while 22% of all Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis. For comparison, 20% of Americans use Twitter – so the same amount of these people are listening to Social Stores .

And that is not all – check out the growth in podcasts on iTunes over the few years (via Copyblogger).

LinkedIn recently published an infographic on the growth of podcasts, noting that more than a third of their 477 million members listen to podcasts, with users under the age of 36 the being most prolific podcast consumers.

While it cannot get as much coverage as other marketing selections, podcasting is a growth area. And it might be about to get bigger, with FB today announcing a new selection to broadcast via FB Live in audio-only mode.

As per FB:

“We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on FB with words & not video. We have even seen some Pages find creative ways to go live & reach audiences with audio only by using the FB Live API / by adding a still image to accompany their audio broadcast. Our new Live Audio selection makes it easy to go live with audio only when that is the broadcaster’s preferred format.”

The update adds to the expanding selections for live broadcasts on the platform – with live content getting a reach boost via the algorithm, logically, a lot of people are looking to use it in different ways.

Audio live-streams can be up to four hours long, while FB  notes that audio-only broadcasts will be beneficial for areas of low connectivity, enabling a lot of people to connect in real-time.

“From interviews to book readings, we are excited about the layer of interactivity that Live Audio gives to both the broadcaster & listener. Just as with a live video on FB, listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions & leave reactions in real time during the broadcast and easily share with their friends.”

Live audio will continue to play while you do other things on the app, Live audio will continue playing even if you leave the app entirely, while iOS listeners will be capable to continue browsing other parts of FB while the audio plays.

Facebook Live is begging for new selections in how to use it. As noted, because FB gives Live content a reach boost, publishers are trying out any way they could to exploit the system, broadcasting pre-recorded videos, static images & interactive polls in which users can cast their votes via Reactions. This last one works well because Reactions in themselves boost reach – a lot of people responding means the content is more attractive, at least as far as the algorithm can tell, so it gets an even bigger reach boost for all that activity.

FB has sought to crack down on some of these mis-uses / ‘re-interpretations’ of what live content is, but as we noted, five of the top 10 FB Live broadcasts of 2016 were basically static images & not much else. If people are engaging with such content, FB’s better off finding a way to work with it & keep that interaction going, rather than outlawing it entirely.

This is all part of the ongoing development of Live. And there’ll be more use-cases & mis-uses as time goes on, but it will be interesting to see how FB works to adapt to user behaviors & either integrate or eliminate them from the tool.

Facebook recently announced the addition of Live 360 content and with the new audio functionality, it is even easier to see how Live will become a much bigger part of the FB experience and a much more relevant content consumption option for more users.

And if Live audio gets an algorithm boost – which you would expect it will – a great many podcasters will no doubt be very interested in utilizing it to achieve a whole new audience with their work.

Source: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/