Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Live Streaming Services: The Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing

From the time Twitch has been acquired by Amazon for $970,000,000, it was clear that live streaming was going to be the future of digital marketing. With the recent addition of live streaming from YouTube Gaming and the boom of mobile games, live streaming has been growing enormously in recent years. Now in 2019, live streaming can no longer be ignored and businesses need to start planning to use it as their next method for digital marketing.

There are various tools to promote products and services online, in which digital marketing has been proved as the best technique to do marketing compared to traditional marketing. No matter what your business is, if you are not making use of digital marketing, you may already be far behind. From Facebook to Reddit, everyone is using this technique and has been able to build their brand reputation. But with the introduction of live streaming, all methods of digital marketing would be considered obsolete.

Benefits of Live Streaming Services

The final benefit we will talk about here is cost effectiveness. Live streaming’s cost effectiveness comes from a few different factors. At a basic level, the only equipment you need to start live streaming is a webcam. It is all very good to invest in better equipment such as high-quality cameras, microphones, or lighting to improve the production quality, but really these are only necessary if you are seeing good results from live streaming and are looking to reinvest the money to further improve the quality. Compared to more traditional marketing channels, live video can also be less expensive with greater turnaround. A live video is cheap and easy to produce and can retain replay value. Recorded live streams can be used in a number of ways, such as sharing them to video platforms like YouTube or using the video for promotional content. The longer the recorded video can be retained for use, the more cost-effective the initial live stream. Finally, live streaming can also lead to faster consumer action. According to a study, a single viewer watching a live stream counts as five separate viewers to an advertising network. With the ability to embed calls to action in various places around a video player, this can be more direct in comparison to traditional advertising. A call to action changed to a paying customer means a faster turnaround of revenue.

Real-time interaction is a huge part of the live streaming experience. As viewers are consuming content, they have the ability to interact in real-time through a chat box. This kind of feature can help to build a much stronger connection between the viewer and the streamer. Through the chat, viewers are able to ask questions and have them answered on the spot. According to statistics, 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. This is a huge percentage of people who are potential viewers for your own live stream. An increase in audience size can expose your brand to a larger awareness within the market. At the same time, it improves the chances of more highly engaged customers because, as we stated, most people prefer live video from a brand. Live streaming is a way to forge a stronger connection with your audience. Due to the engaging nature of live video, live stream content often leads to higher viewer retention. A study found that 82% of brand audiences prefer live video over social posts, and 80% would rather watch live video than read a blog.

Live streaming isn’t just about broadcasting; it’s about engaging. Traditional video content is often consumed in a passive way. Live streaming is much different. According to research, 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts. 67% of viewers are more likely to purchase a ticket to an event after watching a live video, with live video being a great way to promote ticket sales for an event. These figures show that live streaming is an effective way to convert viewers into higher levels of engagement. People who are interested and engaged are more likely to convert.

There are several benefits of utilizing live streaming as part of your marketing strategy. We will discuss them in more detail as part of this e-book. However, on a high level, some of these benefits include increased audience engagement and stronger connection building with the audience, an increase in real-time customer feedback, and a more cost-effective solution than traditional marketing channels.

Increased Audience Engagement

A similar method involves using a live streaming seminar or presentation as a means to promote brands and products. A case study saw a 33% increase in conversions and 51% increase in revenue, as compared to non-live event marketing initiatives. This can be explained by the fact that live streaming a promotional event adds significant perceived value to a brand or product, in addition to the added bonus of an included sales pitch. Viewers watching seminars are already interested and engaged with the product in question, and a live Q&A session at the end of the presentation can result in a slightly more casual tone of sales pitch, making it more effective. This kind of interactive presentation can also be done in a game show format, using a Q&A session with product giveaways. This will serve to entice viewers in joining the stream, with the added incentive of gaining free stuff, and their increased participation increases the likelihood of product sales to said viewer.

An immediate advantage of live streaming is that it offers a more vivid way of connecting with the audience, as it allows for immediate, real-time interaction. Viewers are able to leave comments and questions in the chat, giving you instant feedback. This can be an effective way of engaging with viewers, as the live broadcaster can respond to and answer questions on-the-fly, and also respond to any issues or concerns raised by the audience, thus providing a greater sense of connection between the broadcaster and the viewers.

Real-time Interaction with Viewers

A key that unlocks the potential of live streaming is brand-consumer interaction. Unlike other forms of content marketing, live stream opens the floodgates of communication. Viewers are able to interact with the streamer or amongst each other in real-time. It has been recorded that 92% of consumers feel that they are more likely to trust a brand if they are offered an open, honest and real-time interaction. Typical interactions involve live Q&A sessions, AMAs, or giving away prizes. Brand-consumer relationship is crucial, with 77% of consumers having a relationship with a brand which spanned 10 years or more stating that they had engaged with the brand within the first 12 months of the research. Long-term relationships bring consistent revenue, and with increased engagement on live streaming, it is a sure method of developing brand loyalty.

Cost-effective Marketing Strategy

This is where the dough comes into play. Cost-effective marketing is something that really attracts attention, especially in the business world. It is said that live streaming video is quickly becoming a preferred means of communication for many businesses and readers will see why. By the end of 2016, over 50% of marketing and communication is expected to be through the use of video and a good portion of that is expected to be via live streaming. Why is that? Well, it can pay off in the long run. Executing a successful advertisement can be costly with little return. Over time, businesses have run into people taking the video content and creating a gif, or meme if you will. The infamous “Waste Management Phoenix Open Press Briefing” is a good example of that. Though being somewhat humorous, it falls directly into cost-ineffective advertising. A 30-second commercial is also very costly, usually ranging from (local, non-prime time) to (Super Bowl ad). Live streaming does indeed require planning and is not free from mishaps, but the fact is the multimodal nature of a live stream is a lot safer in today’s world than a recorded video. Viewers cannot create memes or gifs from live streaming content and it makes it even more difficult for it to be taken and reuploaded to foreign sources. It’s a high-risk activity with potential for higher return, but absolutely no long-term security. Recorded video promotion is also part of an outbound marketing strategy, whereas live streaming is nothing but inbound. It’s statistically proven that inbound strategies are cheaper than outbound strategies. This is simply because inbound has a target market. People are smarter and do not want to see their time wasted with advertisements. Content created for live streaming is intended to be shown to viewers who have an interest in a particular product or brand and the advertisement is nestled into the viewing. Recorded video content can be advertised on anything at anyone and sometimes be irrelevant to a large market. This can cost more money than it’s worth and is something a company would want to avoid. Live streaming provides a more personal and direct link to potential consumers who can interact via the comment section or other means. Along with the comment section comes real-time advertising. This can be anything from a viewer stumbling upon the stream asking for the product, to another company wanting to sponsor collaboration. Live streaming is simply the most effective way to create advertisement today and with an estimated 69% of all consumer internet traffic being video content, there’s no telling how great it can be. Dance for your lunch.

Successful Implementation of Live Streaming Services

With today’s information society, there is an increasing demand for mobile live streaming. People want to be able to view video anywhere there is an internet connection. If the video will be viewed higher in a company in China, then it may be beneficial to find a host server in China. This improves video load times. There are a multitude of Chinese mobile phone users and mobile live streaming services can greatly increase company visibility to that demographic. In the case of international video distribution, it is important to upload many different language subtracks. This can also be useful for global companies with employee training videos. An English speaking Japanese employee can watch a training video with Japanese subtitles.

If the registrants are company employees, often times quality is not an issue as video can be played from their own computers, or the video can be downloaded and played at a later time. This erases the need for IT departments to install proprietary software. Simulated live may be useful for sales meetings or training sessions. Downloadable media is often used for training and communications because it allows the video to be stored and viewed whenever necessary. This is useful for video libraries that are organized by subject matter. And finally, live event and entertainment webcasting is often used for sporting events and concerts.

There are a few factors to take into account when using live streaming services. Picking the right platform is immensely important. Different webcasts have different needs, so the live streaming service has to fit the project. Event webcasting is often used by businesses for sales and marketing of new products. It allows consumer interaction and generates buzz. The audience often gets to know about the event with little time to spare, usually one week in advance. An effective registration feature is very useful, especially when the event is a success and the company wants to use the same video for other sales and marketing initiatives, as is often the case with product webinars.

Choosing the Right Platform

A content creator must carefully consider which platform his or her live stream will be on, as each platform differs in its audience demographic and functionality. Websites like Facebook and YouTube have growing live streaming services; however, the audiences using those services are not specifically live stream oriented and are less likely to watch a live stream. Having a dedicated audience is important. Twitch.tv is currently the biggest and most commonly used live streaming platform. The platform is built specifically for live streaming and hosts a wide variety of streamers. Twitch has a huge range of viewers from many different countries and cultures, and the website’s layout makes it easy for viewers to find streams they are interested in. Amateur streamers may find it hard to get viewers at first due to how many streamers there are, but viewers will often follow promising streamers, and it is a good place to grow a following. Step into your viewers’ shoes and consider which platform they are more likely to use.

Planning and Promoting Live Streams

Another useful tip when scheduling for live streams is to schedule them when the targeted subscriptions are most likely to be active. This way, more viewers will be enticed to watch the stream. When developing a set time for live streams, choosing an appropriate length is also critical. From statistical information, viewers prefer a length of at least 15 minutes, yet viewers are willing to watch a longer stream if the content is engaging. For a longer stream, dividing the content into segments with short breaks in between will retain viewers’ attention better than a continuous session.

With much anticipation, planning and promoting are the next steps in establishing successful live streams. Firstly, planning will be discussed. Before any live stream happens, there must be adequate preparation. Both a set time and a proper duration must be scheduled. With the aid of a popular calendar app, events can be scheduled and reminders can be set. If the live stream is to be conducted weekly, biweekly, etc., setting a specific time and day will capture the attention of a larger audience.

Engaging with Viewers during Live Streams

Finally, you need to be able to be entertaining. The most successful streamers are the ones that are most interesting to watch. Always be full of energy and use a voice that doesn’t sound monotonous. Always have a positive attitude and never be truly angry, as people generally will not want to watch someone who’s upset.

A good idea for viewers is to implement a bot into your channel. Bots can achieve many interactions with viewers including timers, spamming messages, song requests, and mini games like raffles or gambling. Bots can very much increase the entertainment value of a stream. Always have constant communication throughout the stream. Discuss what you’re doing or planning to do in the game. Talk about real-life experiences and relate things that viewers say to them. Having a co-host is also good for keeping constant conversation. It can be a friend playing the game with you, or someone who doesn’t play the game at all. People love drama, so discussing controversial topics can be effective. However, it can also drive away viewers and spark arguments, so be cautious about what you choose to talk about.

While live streaming, it is important to interact with viewers as this can benefit your business in many ways. Promote your live stream, especially if you are a beginner. Well-established streamers can probably get away with not promoting, but as a beginner, it’s important. Utilize any social network you have: Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ are great resources. People would love to be updated about when you are going live, so tweeting before you do so is a great way to get more viewers. Networking communities such as Reddit are a good way to get some more attention to your stream. Be careful though, as this can get you marked as a spammer. If you have some time, it wouldn’t hurt to make a thread about when you will go live. Finally, word of mouth is a very effective way to promote. Tell your friends about it and maybe they can get others to like it. Although word may not spread very far, you can be sure to get a friend or two to watch your stream.

Future Trends and Opportunities in Live Streaming Marketing

As of the time of this writing, fewer than 10% of US companies use livestream technology. It has a lot of room to grow, and considering sites like Facebook have recently released live stream features, that is something that is bound to happen. One of the recent trends is the move away from popular services like YouTube, and more people are using platforms like Facebook Live to stream content. Hubspot reports that when they were asked to choose between video types in a live feed, 61% of people said interviews, and live presentations took 55% of the vote. This can show that the future of live streaming could move into a more corporate atmosphere, with businesses utilizing them for product releases and conferences. Another major trend comes with the increasingly mobile lifestyle that people have. The mobile gaming industry has become huge, and most recently it has been touched by game streaming services like Mobcrush and Periscope. In the same way, Twitch has released a mobile app that is more accessible to users than the full site. Drastic improvement of mobile technology has led for there to be nearly universal wifi capabilities and uncapped data plans. According to the Huffington Post, the number of people who have ever owned a home internet connection has decreased to 67%, and only 13% of US adults use it as their sole means of internet access. With mobile connections on the rise, this means that live streaming must adjust to be more mobile-friendly if they want to reach more users. This can be a difficult task as people want to watch the same content that they can on their PC, but it is something that will become easier as time goes on.

Integration with Social Media Platforms

Match made in January of 2017, live streaming with Twitter allows users to start a stream in any location, while only their followers can see the video, while logged in Twitter users and people within a few random, nearby locations can view the stream on the Twitter app. Twitter holds firm to its motto in allowing people to know what’s happening in the world instantly. It’s no secret that a good amount of things happen when people are outside of the Twitter app, the ability to start a stream anywhere and only limiting it to followers will drive people to the Twitter app and accomplish a better fan retention from the user base. Streams can now be planned ahead of time giving the tweet a greater life expectancy, and a URL can be obtained that allows the user to share the stream anywhere as long as it’s public or unlisted. A map is available to see where most viewers are from so you can gauge where the random on-location viewership kicks in. Live and replay viewership is available as analytics. Although the video is limited to only being viewable on the Twitter app when on mobile, the ability to have a new form of private or public live streaming is a huge step for event promotion and exclusive content from an organization to their followers. Having the video only visible to the core base of followers can entice them to spread the word to others who may be more inclined to follow the organization if they see the content. Twitter has realized that video is the future of media, and this small step will continue to grow their platform and video technology across the next few years.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Experiences

Companies are realizing the significance of making consumers interact with their brands in innovative ways. An individual might have seen plenty of virtual reality devices and experiments at trade shows, conferences, and special events in the past. These technologies are mostly used for research purposes and very little used in marketing. But brand marketers who are leveraging virtual reality software are enabling consumers to actively participate with their brands. This is the key to effective branding. Real consumer engagement is taking the branding message and translating it into something the consumer will interact with. There are many ways to pamper customers into a virtual reality brand experience. A software developer created a game for Hummer for an off-road driving experience. A force feedback game controller was used to give the real feeling of driving a Hummer. The game was quite successful and it gave consumers another way to experience the brand. Another good example was a VR simulation created by Helping Hand for the Disabled in Ireland. This simulation places the user in the role of a disabled person in a variety of different situations, employing a range of tasks and allowing the user to experience the difficulties and challenges that a person with a physical disability must face on a daily basis. This was quite effective in communicating the brand message. This experience left a heavy impact on the user and it drew a very strong picture of the brand in the user’s mind. This is the result of successful brand communication. With the software becoming more affordable over the next few years, it’s safe to say that VR will be the next big thing in advertising and marketing. It may just be the mainstream media for tomorrow’s marketers.

Monetization Strategies for Live Streaming Content

The monetization strategy with the most potential comes with ad insertion, especially with the improving targeting capabilities of OTT ads. The availability of varied user data has allowed for extremely specific targeting, making ads more relevant and thus leading to higher engagement and adding value for advertisers. Paid ads would be an effective method for content providers to see revenue, but more popular is the idea of ad-supported content where viewers watch ad breaks for access to free video content. Other methods of ad insertion are display ads and overlays, with the latter being non-intrusive and effective in providing further calls to action for viewers. Subsequently, ads can be targeted regionally and demographically as the ability for IP-delivered content allows for geo-location insertion.

The main purpose of any form of marketing is to make a profit. Live streaming marketing is no exception. Earlier, we discussed how live streaming still has not become a moneymaking media for many companies due to a lack of clear ROI. Thankfully, the future could hold much promise with the development of various monetization strategies. An extensive report by market research firm Research and Markets sees a bright future in live streaming, predicting that the global live streaming market will grow at a CAGR of 19.4% through 2022.

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