Live streaming video can be a low-cost, high-impact way to connect with consumers for live events, real-time happenings and product launches. With the right tactics, it may even be the "best" way to build relationships at scale for digital, according to one expert.
In today’s mobile-first world, video has become a go-to content type for marketers, with live streaming video an emerging format marketers should be testing. The two-way dialog that live content affords helps keep the audience’s attention, while the authenticity of the experience creates a stronger connection between brands and consumers, making for an effective engagement strategy.
“Live video has several major advantages for marketers," Fritz Brumder, CEO and co-founder Brandlive, told Marketing Dive. "First, consumers are engaging — i.e. watching longer — at higher levels versus canned video, according to the data.
"People enjoy the unpredictable and interactive nature of live video, and as a result stick around longer," he added. "Secondly, live video is easier and less expensive to produce. There is not a need for an expensive set, or a detailed script, and no post production.”
Interactivity, low cost and increased brand connection through authenticity are all great reasons to try out live streaming video. But what's the best way marketers can get started with the format?
Events, product launches and more …
Live events are the perfect match for live streaming video, Jeremy Vest, CEO and founder of Vidpow, explained to Marketing Dive, and Brumder agrees.
“Consumer events can also make for excellent live video productions, where there is something interesting to watch, and [a] good story to tell, and a reason for the audience to stay engaged," the Brandlive exec said. "The ability to directly merchandise and sell from a live video event is also very compelling. We have customers who sell out their entire inventory from a single live video event.”
Live streaming video also neatly aligns with real-time marketing activities.
“Another great use of live streaming is real-time information, so if something in your industry just changed, then it might be great to start talking about it seconds after it happens," Vest said. "With recording and editing video you could be too late to the story."
Even though real-time responses are a natural fit for streaming video, Brumder said more scripted events, such as product launches, can be effective as well because there is a natural sequence to follow in a product launch: The story behind the product; the goals of the new version; the reveal; features and benefits demonstrated; expert testimonials; and audience reaction.
Two final suggestions for live streaming video formats include a live Q&A for podcasts and video-based shows for audience engagement and training so that product experts can directly communicate with a large sales force.
Handling the platforms
One challenge for marketers looking to tap into live streaming video is choosing a platform to distribute the stream and reach an ideal audience. Brumder suggested marketers look at their own assets first.
“What our customers have found is that their directly owned digital properties are far and away the most important places for their live video program,” he said. “Their websites and their apps are essential for reaching their most engaged customers.”
Facebook, YouTube, Blab and Periscope all have different audiences, but Vidpow has experienced the best engagement on Facebook, and the least amount of engagement on YouTube, per Vest. For clients, the firm is only suggesting YouTube, Facebook and Twitch at this time.
Both experts agreed that the various platforms don't have many differences technology-wise, with any differentiation coming on the back end. For example, Facebook drives traffic to live streams because followers get a notification when a brand goes live, which can quickly build a large audience.
Merchandising opportunities and interactivity can also set platforms apart, according to Brumder.
“Social media offer primarily simple, emoji-based feedback, and little opportunity for any product merchandising adjacent to the live broadcast for product research,” he said. “Integrating live video into a web site or app allows for much richer interaction, with the audience being able to ask detailed questions, post photos and dive into detailed product pages adjacent to the live video to enable them to engage in a commerce transaction simultaneously.”
For a more in-depth look at how the major live-streaming platforms compare, check out the first half of our series.
Getting started with live streaming video
Rather than overthinking when and how to include live streaming video in the content mix, marketers might be best served by just going for it, so to speak.
“Just dive in and start experimenting,” said Brumder. “It is surprisingly fun, easy and effective. Make sure you include your owned digital channels too. You don’t want to invest too much in a social platform that can change all the rules, and impact your live video program. Get inspiration from the pioneers who have led the way, and start now. You do learn what works for your brand and your audience and can iterate.”
Live video is the “best” way to build human connections with customers at scale in the digital marketing world, Brumder added. He said it’s easy to manage and effective, and pointed out that predictions have over 80% of digital traffic video-based by 2020, making video a mandatory skill for marketers to learn.
“Don’t over-analyze this,” Brumder stated. “It is a low-risk, low-cost, high impact way to build relationships, and customers will vote with their engagement.”