From Facebook Live to Periscope to IGTV, live video streaming has gained major momentum in the last several months — and not just among individuals who enjoy playing with the latest social media craze.
Brands are launching into the live video space, as well, in order to build awareness, converse with customers and share everything they have to offer.
Here, we look at the why and how of live video marketing: Why brands need to embrace it and how to make it work for you.
Why Live Video Is Important Right Now
Video is one of the most-consumed forms of media online today. Marcus Sheridan at Social Media Examiner estimates that by next year 80 percent of what we consume online will be media content. The rise in video content in 2018 suggests that Sheridan’s estimate may be right on track.
Mary Lister at WordStream backs this up with numbers:
- More than 1 billion people use YouTube, making it the world’s second-largest search engine behind parent company Google.
- 45 percent of YouTubers watch more than an hour of video a week.
- 82 percent of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter, even though it is a primarily text-based platform.
According to TJ McCue at Forbes, live video marketing is poised to account for 13 percent of all video streamed in 2018, and the share of live video will keep rising as the amount of total overall streamed content rises. Meanwhile, 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy an item online once they’ve seen a video about it, says Matt Bowman at Forbes, so brands have plenty of incentive to keep producing video.
Live video is especially good at grabbing the attention of younger viewers: Among Internet users younger than 35, half say they watch live video online, according to Madeline Vuong at the Garrigan Lyman Group.
Video isn’t just popular; it’s preferred. Over half (53 percent) of potential customers want to see more video content from marketers, according to Lindsay Kolowich at HubSpot. Nearly the same percentage (51.9 percent) of marketing professionals say that video has the best ROI of every type of content they use. That means there are supply-side incentives and demand-side incentives for companies to create more video content.
The upswing in ROI awareness may be directly related to the increase in the use of video as a marketing tool. While only 24 percent of companies used video in 2015, today that number has risen to 87 percent, according to Outbrain. And 95 percent of marketers are entering the live video world this year, according to Mike O’Brien at ClickZ.
The other big thing that makes live video so appealing: FOMO.
The fear of missing out is what make live video feel suspenseful, special and appealing, says Krystal Overmyer at Skyword. Combined with our natural human curiosity, it makes live video psychologically appealing to a wide range of customers. We want to know what’s going on, and we feel disappointed if we’re not included.
How to Create a Strategy for Your Live Video Marketing
If you are ready to dive into live video as a content format, follow these four tips below.
1. Choose Content That Aligns With Your Marketing Goals
There are dozens of different forms of content that can be produced via live video, often with effects you won’t get from any other form of content. Single Grain’s Eric Siu recommended several of these, including interactive customer service, product demonstrations, FAQ sessions and even opt-in focus groups.
Where should you place live video in your marketing funnel? According to Luria Petrucci at Livestreaming Pros, the answer is “anywhere.” Tawanna B. Smith at MGT Travel Media agrees — and notes that live video can be a powerful tool for engaging and converting potential customers, since it couples the closeness of real-time human interaction with the fear of missing out.
2. Plan, But Don’t Overproduce
Jay Baer at Convince & Convert recommends having a general plan in mind for your live broadcasts, but not to go overboard. “Brands are afraid of being imperfect,” Baer said, but the real value of live video is in giving audiences a more authentic, real-time version of the companies and brands that interest them.
Sylvain Gauchet, cofounder of Apptamin and App2Video, says “The first thing to do is to plan it. You can’t just plug in your device and start capturing footage” — especially when that footage is being broadcast live.
Instead, Gauchet recommends outlining the scenario for the video, and then using the outline as a general guide. Be willing to deviate from the outline when it’s clear there’s a better story elsewhere. Early video streaming adopter Brian Fanzo told Baer that it’s important to go “where the participants wanted to go” — as Fanzo did in one live session where he changed his discussion on the fly from a backstage tour to answering questions about the Samsung phone he was using to film.
But while video is increasingly in demand, many companies shy away from it due to its production-heavy demand. “Despite the low barrier to producing a video (a smartphone and free editing software), it’s still very difficult to achieve a final product that’s an effective marketing piece,” Dennis Balgavy at Britton says.
3. Know What You Will Do With the Audience You Build
Kimbe MacMaster, formerly manager of content marketing at Vidyard, recommends planning ways to keep track of metrics associated with live videos before you begin streaming. Key metrics McMaster mentions include:
- Attendance numbers. How many people were watching?
- Conversion from viewers. How many people follow through on the livestream’s call to action?
- Attention span. Who dropped out when, and can you determine why?
- Post-livestream views. Who tunes in after the fact, when, and how do they find the video?
Other useful metrics may include MQLs generated, employee engagement or influencers who enter your pipeline. MacMaster recommends choosing the metrics that are most relevant to your goals.
4. Before You Broadcast, Promote!
It’s tough for audiences to tune in live if they don’t know when, where or how to do so.
Encourage them to tune in by using livestreaming platforms’ built-in schedulers, Sophie Fitzpatrick at EdgyLabs recommends, and by posting the URL to your social channels in the days before the big event.
Sneak previews can also help you grab attention and tap into that important fear of missing out that drives naturally curious humans to click on live video.
Case Studies: Brands Using Live Video to Impress Us With Content Marketing
Several early adopter brands are standouts in the live video marketing world — and many who have just embraced the technology are starting to shine, as well.
In February 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts put itself at the front of the live video marketing trend by giving a live tour of its facilities via Facebook Live. The tour included a peek into the brand’s test kitchen and interviews with its staff experts, who provided insider information about some of the brand’s most popular treats and drinks. The video even included a visit to the company’s donut factory. And by leaving the video on its Facebook page after the event ended, Dunkin’ Donuts continues to accumulate views and visitors, turning a live event into a powerful piece of content years later.
While live sports will always make for good live video content, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is using livestreaming as a brand-building tool, not merely a distribution channel, according to Aaron Agius. UFC’s Fightpass, which Agius describes as “a Netflix for fight fans,” gives fans access not only to livestreamed events, but also to live video of press conferences, live interviews with fighters and other participants, and even coverage of combat sports from other organizations.
Live video makes it easier to cross or combine genres for greater creativity, as well. Irene Enriquez Chan at belive.tv describes one of that platform’s users who has discovered the value of live video streaming to showcase her work. “She calls [her videos] the ‘live image reveal,’” Chan tells us. “Due to her interactive live shows, she’s able to establish herself as an expert and she gets more inquiries about her photography services.”
To succeed at live video content marketing, keep it loose, keep it honest and know how you’ll measure the video’s success when you go in. Then, create!