HomeMAKING A RUCKUSUnlocking Live Streaming

Unlocking Live Streaming

2015 is quickly becoming the year of the video. But what does the emergence of live streaming mean for your brand?

When Meerkat launched at SXSW, it caused a stir. Part of it was Twitter’s quick response (locking out the app), but it also granted users access to live, in the moment events as they were happening. Unlike Snapchat, it wasn’t a backdated story, it was the ‘now’ that Meerkat capitalized on. Fast forward a month later to Twitter launching Periscope, its own streaming app, and you begin to understand their decision to lock out Meerkat.

While video has been a part of social infrastructure, livestreaming has lagged behind until now. It was more the domain of sports broadcast and live news (both online and on traditional) and niche audiences such as gamers with Twitch.tv. But with mobile, the expectation is instant access and publishers are responding.

Recent stats demonstrate that live streaming isn’t just gaining popularity, it’s beating out VOD options. A 2013 survey in the U.S. reported that viewers watch 40 minutes of live video versus about 3 minutes of VOD on a per-play basis. 

So, how do you take advantage of these new live streaming options?

  • Identify the need: Do you absolutely need to livestream? Yes, it pays to be aware of new tools as they enter the market, however, you shouldn’t simply use something because it’s new. As with anything, start in reverse and identify your business goals, then work back to determine whether live streaming can help you meet them.
  • Be in the moment: The true value of livestreaming derives from granting somebody access to a unique moment in time and space, a piece of content that is only available then and there. If it’s just an overproduced ad/stunt that you’re able to replicate later, it holds little value in live streaming. Perfect examples would be conferences, fashion shows or sporting events. Yes you can read about that later, but half the value comes from experiencing it “first hand”.
  • Build in value: This applies to all social content, but more so to new platforms. There are multiple ways to consume content and you have to provide your viewers with the reason to consume yours (besides buying your product). Maybe they get a backstage view of a concert, or receive useful tips as the broadcast happens.
  • Plan for a granular audience: With multiple apps that provide similar services, it is important to understand that you will not have access to a mass audience right away. What you gain however, are very specific and defined demographics of early adapters and younger audiences. This is not to say that more people won’t start using Periscope or Meerkat, it’s more about being patient until they do and building brand equity with smaller, granular audiences in the meantime.
  • Mind the ecosystem : Nothing should live outside of its original ecosystem and your livestreaming strategy should tie seamlessly to what you’re doing across other channels. (Basic example: if you hold a social giveaway for concert tickets, live stream the concert experience to offer additional value to social followers).

As with Snapchat, Pinterest and other platforms not named Twitter or Facebook, live streaming apps and strategies come down to fit. The truth is, some events/brands will be more suited for it than others. With the NFL announcing that it will have the 2015 Draft up on Periscope, the league identified that one of the main appeals for sports fans is the “live” factor and it offers additional value through the app. Other examples included exclusive model reveals at the recent auto show events.

Overall, don’t think of live streaming as the next great thing to revolutionize your social or digital strategy, but rather as another pillar that can help you support the way you deliver content to your audience and the value your audiences receives from it.

Posted by
Serge Leshchuk
on 30/04/2015