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04 January 2017

Facebook Live to Launch Audio-Only Option

After throwing a lot of resources at Live Video recently, Facebook has now expanded this into real time audio-only streaming. You may be thinking that this is a downgrade from live video or that you will never use this feature and I’m here to discourage you from that way of thinking!

So, is an audio stream something we want or need? ABSOLUTLELY!

This feature is great news for publishers that want the opportunity to tell a story with words and not video.

Facebook product specialist, Shirley Ip, and Facebook software engineer, Bhavana Radhakrishnan, said in a blog post that the new format was, in part, a response to broadcasters already using Facebook’s video streaming for audio-only programming.

They said: “We’ve even seen some Pages find creative ways to go live and reach audiences with audio only by using the Facebook Live API or by adding a still image to accompany their audio broadcast.” 

Podcasts, publishers, news channels, sports channels, authors and more will now be able to engage with their audiences in a completely different way (albeit not an entirely new way) but a more convenient and much easier way that will help them connect directly with fans. Live Audio also presents another way of connecting with audiences in a low connectivity area, as this method of streaming does not require as high a bandwidth as with video streaming.

 04.pngImage Source: Facebook Blog

Users will also be able to interact with broadcasters via chat and post reactions just like they would with a video stream. Conveniently, Android users will also benefit from the additional feature of being able to continue listening to audio-only streams after they close the app, making it great to listen to while on the go. Unfortunately for IOS users, they will have to keep Facebook’s app running to stay tuned in.

However, regardless of what operating system users are using, this new feature is likely to encourage more people to go live with an audio format, as it will eliminate the need for limelight-shy users to be centre stage.

 05.pngImage Source: Facebook Blog

So how could you use this for your business and marketing? I think this is a great opportunity to put some exciting content to your audience in a different way. Why not do a series of product Q&A’s or product descriptions? How about harnessing this new tool for company announcements? There really is no limit to what can be done so why not get creative with this new tool and see how you can engage with your audience in a fresh way. 

Personally I see this as a very clever and interesting way of Facebook moving into the music-streaming world. This feature also offers a huge potential to the music industry. It will mean that record labels, bands and DJs could share new material with their fans instantly. Could this mean that Facebook will now have a firm hold on the music streaming services? No one can be certain yet but it certainly seems very likely.

Over the next few weeks, Facebook will be testing Live Audio with several partners, including BBC World Service , LBC, Harper Collins, and authors Adam Grant and Brit Bennett with plans to make this new format more broadly available to publishers and other Facebook users soon. 

What do you think? Is Audio-Only Facebook Live the future? Why not tweet us your thoughts - @bcsAgency