Just three years after the launch of Facebook Live, live video is set to become a dominant communications tool for public relations and marketing professionals in 2019, according to the results of a new Social Media Video Survey from video-focused PR and media relations firm D S Simon Media.

The firm’s research reveals that 57 percent of communicators are using live social video, while 81 percent of communicators plan to increase live streaming next year—and the use of CEOs in live video is expected to grow dramatically.

CEOs and live social video will be a top brand-boosting trend for PR in 2019

“Obviously, it’s working,” said Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, which has been producing live social video events for years, in a news release. “Communicators are using live video to break news, share thought leadership, take customers and prospects behind-the-scenes, and even engage them in content to build relationships in the B2B space.”

The most popular site for social streaming by communicators

Additional results showed that Facebook is the most popular site for social streaming, used by 63 percent of communicators, followed by YouTube (46 percent) and Instagram (45 percent). Twitter is only used by 4 percent of communicators for live video, suggesting the platform may be more effective to promote events on other sites and to engage with other influencers.

CEOs and live social video will be a top brand-boosting trend for PR in 2019

Those familiar with these platforms understand that these varying usage rates correlate to the unique benefits each site offers. Looking beyond these limitations, Simon explains, “You no longer have to settle for sharing the content on just one social site.” Multi-channel streaming is positioned to be the next big piece of the live video streaming puzzle, as only 17 percent of communicators currently implement it. “Increasing use of multi-channel streaming is going to be a key trend in 2019 to amortize costs and maximize reach,” Simon adds.

The role of the CEO in live video

The survey found that 40 percent of respondents have featured their CEOs in live social video, a significant number considering how new this tactic is—and 57 percent plan to increase this use of CEOs in 2019. “Making you CEO accessible to the media makes your brand seem more authentic,” said Simon. “Live video allows for content control while achieving this strategic objective. Communication skills are more important than ever for a successful CEO.”

CEOs and live social video will be a top brand-boosting trend for PR in 2019

Martin Waxman, CEO of Waxman Communications who reviewed the findings, notes: “You have to look at training your CEO to be comfortable in the live setting.”

CEOs and live social video will be a top brand-boosting trend for PR in 2019

How video is valued by communicators

How are communicators using video? The survey found:

  • 92 percent create awareness for campaigns
  • 52 percent turn leaders into influencers
  • 44 percent connect with partners
  • 22 percent win attention at events and tradeshows

“The sensory nature of video and changing methods of delivery—from livestreaming events, to short form stories on Instagram and Snapchat—gives marketers more options to stay relevant, especially with younger Generation Z audiences who have voracious appetites for video.,” said Andrea Coville, CEO of Brodeur Partners, in the release.

Added Deirdre Breckenridge, CEO of Pure Performance Communications, “Live video is so great for a brand to show the people behind the company.”

CEOs and live social video will be a top brand-boosting trend for PR in 2019

One telling result shows that 86 percent of respondents use video for social engagement, while only 46 percent use it to increase earned media coverage. Simon elaborates, “Failing to use video to earn media when you have already created it for social channels is a big mistake. This is magnified given that more than 80 percent of journalists will use video you provide them as you produced it.”

Download the full report here.

Learn how to connect your livestream to popular social platforms:

The online video survey was completed anonymously through Survey Monkey by 125 communications professionals both in the agency world and members of in-house teams.

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