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Discount code website, MyVoucherCodes, recently held a six-hour Facebook Live show.

Touted as an industry-first (as always), the ‘marketplace’ event was created to showcase the site’s biggest brands and give customers direct access to deals via its most popular social channel.

But is this really the best use of Facebook Live? What's more - is there even a demand for such an exhaustive amount of video content? Here’s a bit more on the story, including how MyVoucherCode’s existing 300,000 Facebook fans reacted.

Marketplace premise

A live broadcast built around shopping is not an original concept - consumers have been watching this kind of content for years. What’s more, with the likes of QVC now broadcasting live from its Facebook page, audiences are also becoming used to accessing it via social channels.

The difference with MyVoucherCodes’ Marketplace is that the event is an expansion on the expectations of the brand’s core audience. 

With users mainly visiting the site and its social media channels for the purpose of discovering discounts - watching six hours of online content is another story. So, did users tune in?

Looking at the results, it appears that each live segment (broken down by the various brands featured) generated an average of 4,000 views or so. So far - taking into account views gained since the live broadcast -  the GHD video has been the most watched, with 5,700 views and over 400 comments. On the other end of the scale, the Meeku video has garnered 2,400 views and just over 100 comments. 

With a large percentage of MyVoucherCodes previous video content getting a fairly similar amount of views, this gives us some indication of the event’s level of success. In terms of a Facebook page with 300,000 followers – it certainly isn’t bad.

That being said, other videos on the MyVoucherCodes Facebook page appear to have generated significantly more engagements. For example, a Fashion Week special received 19,000 views, while last year’s MyMoneySavingWeek generated an average of 20,000 views per video.

What do fans want from live video?

So why have some videos generated many more views than others?

One factor that many of the most-popular videos appear to have in common is a clear-cut competition element. The Fashion Week video was geared around giving away gift cards, while MoneySavingWeek was broadcast last November – building on the general excitement and hype of Black Friday.

MyVoucherCodes has also largely capitalised on PR stunts in the past, perhaps contributing to an increase in general awareness of the brand during the time these videos were published. The brand created its own version of the John Lewis Christmas advert last year, for example, resulting in a fair amount of press coverage.

Going back to the recent Facebook Live event then, perhaps we can conclude that the medium of live video is somewhat arbitrary for a company like MyVoucherCodes.

While the amount of effort that goes into a six-hour marathon event certainly deserves some recognition – it all feels a bit pointless when a week-long pre-record could generate similar, if not greater levels of engagement. This is all the more pertinent when you consider that the deals and discounts offered during the live show are now freely available on the main site. Sure, the competition elements elevate things slightly, but would you really bother sitting through hours of content for the opportunity?

Of course, the chance to get involved with a fun and interactive event is likely to have satisfied existing fans of the brand, however, it is unclear whether it's had much of an effect on conversions to the main site. Similarly, it’s unlikely that the content was sufficiently engaging or provided enough value to entice new users.

In conclusion…

While a six-hour long Facebook Live event is certainly an impressive feat, the reality is that it is probably more hassle than it's worth. 

Though fans might have found it entertaining to watch the two presenters sample a few wines or talk about lipsticks – there’s not much to say about the video content itself other than that it seems pretty shallow.

Similarly, though Facebook Live can be an effective medium for ramping up engagement, a shorter and more slickly-produced series of videos – including more of what discount-hungry consumers really want - could have created much more of an impact.

More on Facebook Live:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 7 March, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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