The emergence of real-time video streaming online has been flagged up as one of the biggest marketing events of 2016.

Both Facebook and Instagram have launched features enabling users to stream live videos – and brands are increasingly picking up on these as potential marketing outlets.

As a result, Nikki Gilliland of Econsultancy believes live videos have become “an important medium” for many different organisations this year, and that this trend will continue into 2017.

“With the arrival of the live video functionality on Facebook, the opportunity for brands to reach a bigger demographic came into play,” she commented.

“With many already having an existing and well-established audience on the platform, it certainly made sense to start using it as the main output for live streaming.”

Ms Gilliland believes live videos are effective partly because a record number of people are watching videos on social media.

She believes their popularity has been driven by the fact videos can be easier to consume than written content.

Furthermore, Ms Gilliland noted that faster load times and increased data allowances make viewing and sharing videos on mobile far more viable than it used to be.

This, she said, has led to videos being “taken seriously by brands of all kinds, with the medium becoming a core part of social media marketing strategies.”

Ms Gilliland went on to state that live video can open up an interactive and instantaneous connection with brands and famous faces.

Indeed, she said the live nature of real-time streaming can enable viewers to feel “part of the action” and establish a “strengthened bond” between them and the brand behind the video.

Furthermore, she said it opens the door for instant feedback, as viewers are much more likely to comment and engage with the content if there is a possibility of the creator replying immediately and saying their name in real-time.

Why live video was the biggest social trend of 2016 Econsultancy