The social network’s live-video-streaming platform brought press conferences, interviews with players, practice sessions and question-and-answer sessions to National Basketball Association fans throughout the weekend.
As previously reported, more than 30 NBA players participating in the festivities visited the Facebook Live dedicated social booth to stream live videos. Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is pictured below.
Devi Mahadevia, Evan Shugerman and Amy Hudson—who work on sports partnerships for Facebook—also reported in a Facebook Media blog post that fans could access the content by subscribing to Facebook Live or directly via the NBA Facebook page.
One of those interviews, pictured below, featured former NBA All-Star Rick Fox interviewing 18-time All-Star Kobe Bryant, who is retiring at season’s end, for the Nike Basketball Facebook page.
Facebook Live also helped give NBA fans access to events including the press conference by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, as well as pregame and postgame interviews with participants in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and the NBA All-Star Game itself.
As previously reported, Yahoo Sports NBA insider and The Vertical editor Adrian Wojnarowski used Facebook Live and the Facebook Sports Newsdesk to interview NBA All-Stars and Rising Stars over the course of the weekend, with those videos available via Facebook page The Vertical with Woj and The Vertical.
Wojnarowski broke the news via Facebook that Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh was withdrawing from the All-Star Game.
Finally, Turner Sports and NBA TV were responsible for 27 Facebook Live sessions and more than 150 videos posted to various Facebook pages during 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend, totaling more than 65 million views.
NBA fans: Did you interact on Facebook during 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend?
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Bolt Breakers will feature representatives from Gatorade’s four partners meeting with a panel of experts to help flesh out “innovative ideas to assist athletes in performing at their best,” and coaches, athletic trainers and dietitians will also provide information on athletes’ daily habits and needs. The panel includes:
Gatorade said in a release that it will work with CoreSyte, Facebook and Twitter to develop platforms aimed at connecting with athletes and providing solutions for their needs, and with Spotify to help determine how music affects athletes’ performance, with the results to be shared at an SXsports event in Austin, Texas, March 12.
Cortadellas added in the release:
Innovation has always been at the core of who we are as a brand, so we are excited to collaborate with four of the world’s leading tech companies to provide athletes with new solutions. I know all of us at Gatorade are looking forward to seeing what our partners develop and we are eager to help implement each of their new platforms.
Readers: What innovations do you think will result from Bolt Breakers?
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During a press briefing Thursday, the social network stressed its efforts to serve its users and advertisers in emerging markets and with poor performing Internet connections, such as 2G.
Emerging markets product lead Kelly MacLean said during the press briefing that emerging markets make up 85 percent of the world’s population, with 90 percent of those people under the age of 30, adding that marketers turn connectivity challenges into real-time marketing opportunities and pointing out that users in emerging markets “really love connecting with businesses” and view ads favorably, including the data below from eMarketer to enforce her point.
Facebook executives discussed the explosion of video content—both ads and videos posted by pages and users—and the increasing percentage of users accessing the social network via mobile, pointing out the difficulties for both brands and users in emerging markets when it comes to both creating/producing and viewing video via slower connections.
Chief product officer Chris Cox spoke of “breaking down barriers for the next group of people to use Facebook,” adding that “the people we’re building this for look less and less like us,” and stressing the “completely different level of discipline and commitment” required to serve those users.
“The next billion” was a common theme throughout the press briefing, and Cox said one-third of those next billion would come from India, mostly via 2G connections.
Illustrating the importance of connection speed, Cox said:
You’d much rather have a 10-year-old phone on a good connection than a brand-new phone on a bad connection.
Engineering director Tom Alison spoke about Facebook’s efforts to serve emerging markets, discussing the creation of the emerging markets engineering team within the past year, with its focus on “delivering a great product experience on Facebook to people in emerging markets, particularly 2G.:
Alison mentioned network connection class, which enables Facebook to understand the quality of networks being used to access the social network, as well as how the social network tweaks News Feed for those slower connections, with steps such as loading content incrementally, loading stories “below the fold” ahead of time, prioritizing the story that is currently being viewed, loading lower-quality images quickly and eventually replacing them with high-resolution images and, in cases where connection is lost, fetching stories that were previously loaded but not viewed by users.
Alison also mentioned Facebook’s 2G Tuesdays initiative, whereby employees at the social network are given the option to experience Facebook via a connection that simulates 2G speed for one hour every Tuesday.
slideshow—which was launched Thursday globally, not just in emerging markets, via Facebook’s ads create tool–enables advertisers on the social network to, as the feature’s name suggests, stitch images into a slideshow, easily creating ads that draw attention the way video ads do, but lessening the stress on them, as well as on the mobile connections of users with slower access.
The social network added in a Facebook for Business post that slideshow will be rolled out to Power Editor and Ads Manager “over the coming weeks,” adding that slideshow ads are made up of three to seven still images from any source, including stock imagery from Facebook’s library.
Product manager, emerging markets Nikila Srinivasan said during the press briefing that slideshow ads can run from five to 15 seconds, and the social network pointed out that the file size for a 15-second slideshow can be up to five times smaller than that of a 15-second video.
She called slideshow a “lightweight, responsive ad format that reaches users across all devices and connectivity, as well as a creative tool for brands looking to create videos,” and she said Facebook has been testing the product with “several close partners.”
Coca-Cola was one of the partners mentioned by Srinivasan, with the social network saying in the Facebook for Business post that the beverage company ran a slideshow ad in Kenya and Nigeria to raise awareness for the new season of its Coke Studio Africa television show.
Facebook said the ads reached 2 million users, doubling Coca-Cola’s goal of 1 million, and raised ad awareness by 10 points in Kenya, and Coca-Cola central, east and west Africa marketing director Ahmed Rady added:
We are pleased with how the Facebook slideshow campaign performed across our key markets in Africa, particularly in Nigeria and Kenya. The campaign over-delivered on reach by 1 million and had a 10-point increase in ad awareness in Kenya. We recognize that our consumers may have constraints when accessing video content, hence the slideshow option by Facebook is spot-on in enabling us to still deliver impactful and quality content. As such, we are excited to use the slideshow feature to deliver high-quality content from Coke Studio Africa to our consumers on the continent.
Srinivasan also mentioned slideshow campaigns by Brazil-based cosmetics manufacturer O Boticário, which showed users how to apply smoky eye (pictured below), and by Netflix in the U.S. to introduce new characters in its original series.
Srinivasan said the same ad review and policy guidelines that apply to other Facebook ad units apply to those created via slideshow, adding that the social network was looking to extend slideshow to Instagram, but not to WhatsApp.
Readers: What are your early thoughts on slideshow?
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