One More Example of Why Advertising on Live Video is Dangerous

Streaming live video is becoming extremely common on social media sites. Whether Facebook, Instagram, or others, it is easy to start streaming yourself talking, chatting with friends, your favorite sporting event, or anything else you could desire. The vast majority of streaming live video on social media is just the standard consent that people expect to see on these sites. Every once in a while, however, that is not the case.

In the past several months there have been several notable events that were streamed live on social media. Whether it was a man who died on camera after being shot by a police officer, an individual who streamed his own suicide, or the most recent example, a flood of live streamed pornography that was shown on Instagram’s live video service.

Instagram normally does a pretty good job at blocking unsafe videos quickly, and banning those who publish them. According to reports, the live video section of Instagram had at least seven (possibly more) accounts that were streaming sexual content on Sunday night. This included sexually explicit videos, and at least one live stream of a couple who were actively engaged in oral sex.

Of course, Instagram apologized for this issue. Beth Gautier, a spokesperson for the company, said, “We are disappointed and sorry this happened. We care deeply about the quality of content on Instagram, and take spam, inauthentic and other abusive behavior very seriously. When we catch violating activity, we work to counter and prevent it, including blocking accounts.”

As marketers, it is important to not just look at these instances as unfortunate risks that exist when watching live video online. Many live video services have advertisements playing before, during, or after a video is shown. These ads are automatically displayed, so any brand that is advertising on a given live-stream platform is at risk.

Fortunately, Instagram doesn’t sell ads inside their live videos, but Facebook and many others do. All brands looking for an engaged audience for their advertisements will likely be attracted to the live video environment. While the positives can be significant, it is also important to think about situations like this and how it could impact your brand should your ad be associated with it.

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