Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve may be the traditional New Year’s broadcast in the U.S., but Facebook users launched live broadcasts in huge numbers on New Year’s Eve. In fact, the number of users going live on Facebook on New Year’s Eve totaled nearly half of the viewer count for the ball drop in Times Square. According to data released by Facebook on Wednesday, January 3, the social media platform saw a 47 percent increase in the number of users going live to celebrate the transition into a new year.
More than 10 million people used Facebook Live to celebrate the new year, the social media platform says. New Year’s Eve is the largest day for live broadcasts, so Facebook launched a handful of live features ahead of the new year to give users additional options, including live augmented reality effects, like 2018 glasses and party hats.
While the numbers show a growth in Facebook Live, at least for the holidays, one of Facebook’s newest Live features saw a spike over New Year’s as well. The number of Facebook users that went live with a friend, a feature added in 2017, was three times the number of users using the feature any other day in December, Facebook said. That puts New Year’s Eve as the largest day for Live With since the feature launched in May.
Facebook didn’t share data on how many people viewed those live videos, but data on the Rocking New Years Eve gives those numbers more context. According to The Nielsen Company, the ball drop in Times Square brought in 25.6 viewers. Those numbers are the highest since the company started tracking audience data in 1991, suggesting the number celebrating the new year grew whether that celebration was on Facebook or watching the traditional ball drop. As long as each Live video had at least three viewers, then the viewer count spread across all of Facebook’s live-streams for New Year’s Eve exceeded those tuning in to the ball drop. (According to Facebook’s 2017 data, the biggest Live broadcast on the platform brought 80 million views).
Facebook says that users that tuned into those live videos were most likely to use the ‘wow’ reaction. While Facebook tracked Live videos around the world as the local clock struck midnight, the cities with the most users going live were Las Vegas; Orlando, Florida; Detroit; Memphis, Tennessee; New York; Houston; Chicago; Honolulu; San Antonio; and Milwaukee.
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