Facebook introduced the Watch Party feature in November 2018. It was first available in the United States and later rolled out to the rest of the world in the same year.
For most people, it was a fun feature to watch a video together on Facebook. They can watch a video together as if it were live and share their thoughts in the comment section. Eventually, it became a feature to boost views and engagement. In 2020, Watch Party became an instrumental tool to bring people together, as the lockdowns around the world started.
However, after two years, Facebook has decided to say goodbye to the feature. According to Digital Information World, Facebook will put an end to Watch Party on April 16, 2021.
Watch Party: For Business or For Pleasure
Most people use Watch Party for watching short, funny videos together. I used it quite often during the strictest lockdown in our country, so I can “hang out” with my siblings.
But how do marketers and business owners use Watch Party exactly?
Watch Party Launches
Carla Partridge New, Field Vice President at Origami Owl-Carla New, uses the Watch Party feature a few times per month when her parent company does a product launch. She uses it as a way to engage with her community and boost sales by following up with commenters who have expressed interest.
“I share their live video with my own community so that we can watch and react together. I am able to see their comments and reactions within my own watch party instead of them getting mixed in with the comments of the corporate page’s video.”
Watch Party to Boost Facebook Live Views and Engagement
Watch Party is also used to boost views of our live shows on the BeLive Facebook Page. After the livestream ends, we do a Watch Party a few hours later. This accomplishes two things:
- Our Facebook Group members can engage in the Watch Party and watch it together as if it were live.
- Get more views on the broadcast, so it will reach more people.
Owen Video even has a whole tutorial on how to do this strategy.
We usually see 20% more views and engagement when hosting a Watch Party of a livestream. The host of the livestream can even join in the fun because you can now watch and comment with replay viewers.
Alternative Strategies to Facebook Watch Party
So, what is the alternative you ask? Most business owners and marketers like me turn to Mari Smith, the Facebook Queen, for an answer. She has two actionable solutions:
- Keep going live regularly.
- Upload native videos.
“Facebook is still absolutely giving priority to video content in the news feed, especially Live. It typically gets 3-6X reach and engagement than all other types of posts types.”
This is solid advice, as I have tested this on my personal page. Facebook Live always gets more reach and engagement. So, if you’re going Live regularly, you don’t have to worry that much about saying goodbye to Watch Party.
Keep going live, as Facebook might have another thing up their sleeve to replace Watch Party. If you don’t want to miss any Facebook news, make sure to join Mari Smith’s Social Scoop Facebook Group.
Repurposing Your Videos In Other Social Media Channels
Adding a smart repurposing strategy can also boost your reach not only on Facebook but also on YouTube, Instagram, and even Twitter.
One easy way to do that is to trim your hour-long livestream and turn it into shorter videos. Here’s how you can do it:
- Go live on your usual schedule.
- Trim the stream into shorter pieces.
- Upload the shorter videos on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Group, or Page.
- Add a link to the original livestream in the caption.
This doesn’t provide the live interaction you get from hosting a Watch Party, but it does get you more potential views from other channels.
For example, I went live to my Facebook Page about the different ways to monetize a livestream. I use BeLive to go live and use the built-in Video Editor to trim the parts where I summarized the monetization strategy.
I uploaded it in my YouTube channel under the playlist, “Monetize Your Streams Even If You Don’t Have Thousands of Followers.” You can learn more about how to use BeLive’s Video Editor here, and how it’s an easy way to repurpose your stream and save you hours per week.
Bring your old videos back to life.
Molly Mahoney, a 7-figure online coach who teaches people to use Facebook Live for their business, recommends to go live and play your old videos. It’s not exactly a Watch Party, but it can boost an old content back to life. Make sure that you are clear about the fact that it’s a replay of an earlier video. You can also add a commentary while playing the video. You don’t want to “pretend” like you are Live if you aren’t.
If you’re using a third-party tool like BeLive, you can do this in two ways:
Share your screen.
Go to the tab where you have your old content. Click the “Share screen” icon on the BeLive Studio. You can even do picture-in-picture, so you can talk while you play the video.
Play a video on the stream.
If the content is uploaded on YouTube, put the link under the Media icon. This will play the video in the stream. You can play it in full screen if you want people to watch the video.
Mahoney adds, “For me a big thing is that it allows me to repurpose videos and gives the feeling of a live video with the interactive comments.”
Try Facebook Premier
Facebook Premier is still available for everyone–at least for now. Premier lets you schedule and debut pre-recorded video as a Live content. You can learn more on how to do that here. It’s not as robust as Watch Party where you can have multiple Watch Parties in different groups, but it does create the Live moment on Facebook.
Future of Facebook Live
The end of Watch Party might be sad news for people who use it strategically, but let’s hope that Facebook has something up their sleeves that will wow us. Ultimately, Facebook Live is still stronger than ever, and it’s a strategy that needs to be nurtured and improved.
How do you feel about this news? Do you have other alternative strategies? Please share with us your thoughts! If you want to jump into our discussion of Watch Party, join us in the BeLivers group.
Ready to take your Facebook Live to the next level? Sign up for a FREE BeLive account, so you can go live, showcase your products, and repurpose your content all in one place.
Irene Chan is a writer and live video producer at BeLive. She has been working in the digital marketing industry for a decade and loves the creativity of video production. She has a degree in Broadcast Communication and is always imagining new live videos to produce. She is based in the Philippines and lives with her husband, two kids, and their 11-year-old Chihuahua.