Brands, publishers and celebrities are all experimenting with Facebook Live, to see how live-streaming can help them connect with their target audiences. One interesting example that hit my radar is Lowe’s home improvement stores, which, this past Saturday night, used Facebook Live to broadcast a 45-minute show featuring HGTV’s “Property Brothers” to reveal a sample of Black Friday sale items.
In the video, Drew and Jonathan Scott open a series of boxes which often contain gentle pranks (e.g. a marching band, confetti, puppies, etc.) as well as actual products that will be on Black Friday sales (e.g. wine chiller, combination tool kit, Roomba vacuum cleaner, etc.). For much of the video, the brothers are ad-libbing, casually jibing each other and keeping the show moving along.
As of this morning, the show had approximately 42K views (I don’t know how many of which occurred live on Saturday night) and over 1,200 likes. That’s considerably less than the 1.5 million+ views and 3,600 likes that a 10-minute teaser video the Scott brothers did for Lowe’s 3 weeks ago. Then there’s the 2-second video of one of the brothers getting pranked that has racked up over 3.2 million views.
Whereas Black Friday promotions used to run mainly in TV, radio and newspaper ads, Lowe’s is breaking new ground by using Facebook Live to launch its specials. The company had teased the Saturday night live show with the short videos and other ads.
Research from Brightcove last week, indicating that 46% of people who watched a branded video on social media then made a purchase, was an indicator of how much potential Lowe’s strategy could have. Of course, given Lowe’s size, even if the 42K views did convert to purchases, that would still only have a small impact on the company’s overall revenue.
While Lowe’s undoubtedly wants to drive as many holiday sales as possible, the bigger picture here is likely to learn how live video (and subsequent views) on social media can play a role in the marketing mix. It’s still very early days for brands, celebrities and publishers in terms of how to leverage Facebook Live, but clearly innovators like Lowe’s get that it provides a whole new way of reaching and engaging fans.
The ability to own a customer communications channel vs. renting space on others’ (i.e. TV networks) could become very valuable longer-term, especially given Facebook’s massive audience. This is even more strategic as viewers actively seek to avoid and block ads altogether. It will be interesting to see if Lowe’s shares any results about the Facebook Live campaign and also if/how other retailers use live-streaming during this holiday season.