Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, but the differences between the two platforms remain surprisingly large. We’re going to dive into the differences between Instagram Live and Facebook Live and how you can use each as part of your overall digital marketing campaign.
What does it mean to go ‘live’?
Going live through Facebook and Instagram means to create and share a real-time broadcast. Live functionalities on both platforms have become increasingly common, but while Instagram and Facebook Live may seem similar at a glance, the key features of the two are very different. And figuring out which is best for your brand really depends on your business’s overall marketing strategy.
- Encourages audience interaction
- Simple to use
- Vertical only
Updates to come
- Business-focused features such as badges for viewers to show off their financial support
- “Live Shopping” for instant in-app purchases
While Instagram Live is simpler to use, it boasts many features that encourage audience engagement. Going Live on Instagram only taps a few steps and broadcasts straight to your followers’ Stories feed. You’ll only need a smartphone to create video live streaming on Instagram but this does limit you to the platform’s native features and filters. You’re also therefore limited to the quality of your smartphone’s camera. However, this does mean that no matter the size of your brand or budget, the playing field of Instagram Live is fairly even.
The limitations in Instagram Live can also provide a sense of unpolished authenticity, giving you a way to engage with your audience directly. Instagram Live’s built-in features make it easy to do just that. Features such as stickers that allow you to ask questions, the ability to invite a fellow Instagram user “into” your live video, and the Q&A features are some of the most notable differences between Instagram Live and Facebook Live.
- Flexible options
- More engagement than other social media platforms overall
- Long broadcast times
- Evergreen compared to Instagram
Updates to come
- Nothing announced yet
Although Instagram has features tailored towards audience interactions, Facebook gives creators more freedom and flexibility in creating videos. Rather than being restricted to your Smartphone’s camera quality and vertical video, Facebook allows for integrations with external cameras and advanced editing equipment. This provides opportunities for advanced camera work and HD-quality productions. Facebook Live also has longer broadcast times with video allowed up to eight hours long. Instagram is still limited to one hour. This increased time limit also gives brands more opportunities when it comes to creating content.
Facebook Live also conveniently and automatically saves your live video broadcasts. Although you can integrate Instagram Live videos into your feed via IGTV, they don’t include the original comments from the live broadcast. On Facebook Live, comments are time-stamped and livestreamed in real-time alongside the rebroadcast video, allowing you to save your interactions with your audience. The only downside to Facebook Live is that the content tends to be evergreen as it is primed for publishing on platforms like YouTube following the end of the live broadcast.
Where should you go ‘live’?
Instagram is simple to use and more affordable to budget, but it’s limited in terms of technical features when compared to Facebook. However, this doesn’t make Facebook the better option if you’re looking to increase your direct engagement with your audience. If you’re planning on going live on either platform, here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Promote your broadcast first
Even though both Instagram and Facebook will send your followers a notification to let them know you’re going live, it’s not really enough to rely on. You should always promote that you will be going live, telling your followers when and where you’ll be going live. Using either Instagram or Facebook Stories allows you to update your followers either days or hours in advance without spamming your followers’ feeds.
2. Pick a video format
How much engagement you get from your live video depends on how you interact with viewers. You shouldn’t just freestyle your live videos. Instead, pick a format that allows for audience interaction. This can include Q&A sessions, live interviews or product demonstrations.
3. Republish (and repurpose)
Even though you’re only going live for a limited time, you should try to get as much mileage out of it as possible. Facebook makes this easy by automatically saving your live videos to your video feed. So, if you’re creating something longer-form and high-production, consider uploading it to your website or to YouTube.
By understanding the key differences between Instagram Live and Facebook Live, you can work out which platform you should prioritise. Creating a live video is an effective way to engage your social media following on both Instagram and Facebook.