Over the years, the internet and social media platforms have rapidly evolved which has lead to a drastic transformation in the audience consumption behavior and marketing strategies adopted by brands. One such trendy phenomenon that evolved into a full-blown marketing strategy for every industry is Live streaming. It is a type of video content that is a broadcast in real-time to an audience on the internet. Though this has been around for a long time, it’s recent rise could be a cause of the technology improvements, increased use of smartphones and adoption of mobile-first platforms.
Live streaming has become an essential element of various social media platforms which has immensely helped brands to connect with their audience, old and new, and engage with them in new innovative ways. It simply brings a new element to digital marketing by giving consumers an authentic look into the brand’s journey that in turn creates immediate interest. Making a connection is where the success of marketing lies and understanding how to use live streaming to broadcast your company’s best self is important. So, if you’re not watching or creating live stream videos, you’re pretty late to the game!
This is a complete guide for brands to fully explore the potential of live streaming by understanding the audience watching behaviors, it’s best use cases and top social media platforms that offer this feature.
Some Quick Live Stream Facts That You Should Know!
– Live streaming is also one of the largest growing industries that could be worth $70 billion by 2021.
– 63% of Millennials watch live content while 42% create it.
– 80% of customers would rather watch live videos from brands than reading posts
– Streaming video accounts for two-thirds of all internet traffic and is expected to jump to 82% by 2020.
– 59% prefer live streaming online vs live T.V. for the excitement factor.
How Can Brands Use Live Streaming?
The numbers above clearly show that live streaming is a powerful advertising tool that enables brands to increase their sales and reach. Authentic content is the best way to reach out to prospective customers, and live streaming can help them stand out amongst the competitors. Here are some of the best use cases:
Instead of telling people about their product updates and announcements via generic social media posts, brands can show me them what’s happening via live streaming. It is also a very effective method to demonstrate their product and cater to various How-To queries.
– Live Interviews and Q&A Sessions:
People love asking peculiar questions and having them answered via social media. Taking the usual polls and questionnaires a notch above, brands can do that over a live stream. It also makes it the perfect way to hold live interviews which drives engagement.
– Live Events:
Brands organize/sponsor various kinds of events as a part of their marketing strategy. But ensuring that people get involved in it is most important. With live stream broadcasts of these events, brands are able to connect to a wider audience.
Since authenticity is key a successful digital marketing strategy, brands have begun to shed their formal communication approach with their audience and give them a peek into what’s happening behind-the-scenes by using live streams.
What Makes A Live Stream Successful?
Just knowing about the boom of live streaming and how to host it is not enough. Knowing what makes it successful is the differentiation factor. Here’s what brands need to keep in mind:
– Focused Content:
In order to attract an audience which will not only view your live stream but also engage with it, brands need to be able to focus their video content properly. Everything that they choose to broadcast must have a clear objective and target audience.
When a brand starts creating live stream content, it is important for them to continue to create it and maintain consistency. This encourages their audience to follow them and keep an eye out for every time there a video goes live.
– Real-Time Interactions:
Since it’s social media, brands don’t just have to broadcast content without having a two-way communication with their audience. The platforms enable them to include live chats and other interactive features during the live stream which increases interest and gives it a sense of community.
– Video Quality:
67% people say that video quality is most important for a live stream. That’s a huge factor that can’t be overlooked by brands while creating live content. Doing a sound and video quality check before actually going live always helps.
What Are The Top Live Streaming Social Media Platforms?
Today almost all major social media platforms have introduced a live streaming feature which is extensively used by individuals and brands. Knowing which social media platform works best for a broadcast will depend on the audience that the brand wants to target. Here’s a brief overview of each platform which will help brands pick and choose as per their needs:
With an average of 2.07 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the market leader of social networking sites. It has predominantly a female user base and the best place to reach out to Millennials and Generation X. As of April 2017, India surpassed U.S.A to become the top country with the most Facebook users. There are around 360 million monthly active users worldwide on the platform that use the live streaming feature which can be accessed both on the desktop and the app.
Research shows that Facebook Live Videos are watched 3X more than regular video content on the platform. And when it comes to commenting, it is 10X more on live videos than the regular ones. The availability of features like live filters and reactions during the stream makes it interesting for the audience to watch and participate in it. The platform allows you to save the live stream videos and replay comments after the broadcast has ended so that it is always available for the audience to consume it. Live streams can be explored by using the Facebook Live Map on desktop. You can also choose to get notified by a page every time they go live.
YouTube has over 1.5 billion monthly active users that makes it the second largest social media platform which has a predominantly male user base. Same as Facebook, YouTube live can be accessed both on desktop and the app. This feature is available for only verified channels on the platform. And if you want to host a live stream via mobile, the prerequisite is to have more than a thousand subscribers. The audience can participate in the live stream by leaving their comments in the real-time live chat section. After the broadcast ends, it gets saved in the creator’s channel as a regular video. Finding YouTube Live videos on the platform is pretty simple as every search can be filtered out by selecting the Live subcategory.
Ever since its inception, Instagram has been immensely popular among the younger generations. It has around 700 million monthly users with a predominantly women user base. The Instagram Live feature is a part of their recent Stories rollout which disappears after twenty-four hours. You can also go live with a friend now which makes Instagram stand out from the other platforms that provide live streaming. However, a user can choose to pin the live story in the newly launched Highlights section of their profile. This increases the shelf life of the live stream after the broadcast ends. If you want to discover the top live videos happening in real-time, go to the explore section where you will find it featured on the very top that takes you to a list of all the live streams currently happening on the stream. It gives you push and in-app notifications when followed accounts go live.
Unless you happen to be a gamer or an artist of some kind, you might not have had much experience with Twitch. It is a social media platform that functions only on the live streaming feature and has some surprisingly good numbers in terms of its user base despite it not being a mainstream social media platform. It has a daily active user base of 9.7 million with more than 2 million unique streamers per month. A user on a daily basis spends around 106 minutes watching Twitch live stream content.
Like all other social media platforms with the live stream feature, Twitch also allows users to post real-time comments and emoticons in the chat section. Streamers and viewers can connect and engage with each other using Twitch’s Pulse page. Another interesting feature available for Twitch streamers is to be able to promote other live streams on their channel by using the Host mode. With the recent launch of Twitch Extensions, viewers can interact directly with the video player or page widgets to find out more about the game, get real-time information, answer polls and trivia, or to interact and play games with streamers. But the best part of this platform is that it gives an opportunity to the live streamers unlike most other platforms to be able to earn from it. Fans can make monetary donations by buying Bit Emoticons and giving them to the streamers directly.
Twitter lets you know everything that’s happening in the world from breaking news to major live events. It has 328 million monthly active users on the platform which has a nearly equal gender split. When it comes to live streaming it is powered by Periscope which is searching both on Twitter (desktop & mobile) and Periscope. After the broadcast ends, it gets posted as a tweet which can also be saved to your camera roll if you want to use it elsewhere. The viewers can participate in the live stream by commenting and sending hearts and can also opt-in to get push notification every time a followed account goes live.
YouNow is the best platform to discover talented broadcasters, watch live streams and video chat live with people from around the world. The majority of the users of YouNow are under 24 years old. Many users perform music or dance, others talk or make jokes. A tag-based topic system enables viewers to browse the content of their choice while trending streams enable users to locate more popular webcasters.
Each YouNow broadcast has two main features: a window where the broadcaster livestreams himself or herself, and a chat window, where users interact with broadcasters.YouNow also has a partner program that allows popular broadcasters to earn money. Virtual goods bought by viewers are used to acclaim videos; the resulting revenue is split between YouNow and the video creator, with about 60% going to the latter. Brands will have to get out of their comfort zone with YouNow, with its live, uncensored vibe, but they can win new fans if they get it right.
Musical.ly is fast-growing video social network which majorly showcases lip-synced content and now also allows users to broadcast in real-time through its Live.ly live streaming app. It has around 4.6 million monthly users predominantly young females on the platform who spend an average of 3.5 minutes per day. Unlike other live streaming platforms, Live.ly doesn’t have the feature of posting the broadcast after it ends, it simply disappears. Users will be able to scan through and discover channels based on how many people are watching a video, and by tags and a short description. Some of the features include real-time comments, emoji-loves, guesting options to include fans within the live stream and fans are able to gift icons that are purchased by using coins. Brands seeking new advertising opportunities should look to the digital stars occupying Live.ly to gain access to new and varied audiences.
As the ecosystem behind live streaming advances, coming years will continue to see a critical mass of demand for live video. From rising social media use to stronger media devices and even the impending arrival of 5G mobile networks, live video is poised to be a major contender of global multimedia consumption.
I love to explore challenging opportunities in the field of Digital Media. Primarily, my skills revolve around Digital Video in terms of Content Strategy/Marketing, Analysis and Audience Development. My natural affinity towards diverse audio-visual content across platforms helps me develop a multitude of perspectives. In totality - I'm a keen learner, collector of new enriching experiences and have an undying conviction to always stay curious in life!