One of the most successful tools being used by today’s top creative brands is live-streaming video. It is the fastest growing and most effective area of content production right now. By the end of 2021, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic.
As the pandemic continues to alter the way companies reach their customers, live-streaming video has become the interactive, community-building alternative to webinars, on-demand segments, and in-person events. Companies have learned the value of how to present their products and services in a more personal way—live. This allows companies to seem more relatable and less formal or polished. And it’s working.
According to Kathy Klutz-Guest, author of Stop Boring Me!, authenticity is a significant part of the appeal behind live video. Live-stream videos don’t come across as overly produced like other marketing videos, providing a more engaging experience. She advises to use streaming to share important information and create conversations with customers.
“Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses is yet another way to thank your biggest fans and enable them to help share your brand story,” writes Klutz-Guest. This can generate returns in such areas as publicity, lead gen and overall engagement.
AdWeek reports that 70% of consumers who feel a connection to a brand will typically spend twice as much as the average customer. The U.S. live-streaming market is now expected to hit $11 billion by the end of 2021.
Benefits of Live Streaming
People watch live video 10 to 20 times longer than on-demand content. Companies who invest in a video marketing strategy will increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience. It is one of the most effective ways to build trust and establish authenticity. Live streaming encourages your customers to see your brand in a new light. In fact, they will be more drawn to your products or services after watching a broadcast.
Apart from this, live streaming offers a lot of benefits to your brand. For instance, it can maximize audience reach, enable you to interact with your audience, and allow you to show your creative side. Live streaming brings your brand closer to viewers and encourages them to connect with you.
Here are some ideas of what to live stream:
- Brand news
- Live interviews
- Q&A sessions
- Product launches
- Influencer live streams
- Live shopping
It is important to be mindful of production quality. Consumers have a low tolerance for a bad stream. For many, 90 seconds is the most a viewer will tolerate a spotty stream.
Understanding why live streams matter, as well as how to use them, could be key to future brand growth. Live streaming allows such businesses to create an additional revenue stream that is potentially always open.
Social Live Shopping
With over 9.3 billion hours watched, Twitch is now the biggest live-streaming platform worldwide. Understanding the value and importance of live streaming, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter and Amazon have all joined the live-streaming shopping game. This is all in the hopes of maximizing e-commerce activity via the immediacy and engagement of retailer broadcasts.
When you mention live streaming In the U.S, most people would name their favorite celebrity leading a Q&A on Instagram or a gamer doing a speedrun on Twitch. In China, it’s shopping, streamed live.
During China’s 2020 Black Friday, live streams accounted for $6 billion in sales, nearly doubled from 2019. Live shopping has become a major part of China’s retail sector and, according to McKinsey, live commerce has transformed the industry, becoming a major sales channel in just five years. In a 2020 survey, two-thirds of Chinese consumers report buying products via live stream in the past year. McKinsey estimates that live commerce-initiated sales could account for as much as 10% to 20% of all e-commerce by 2026.
Not to be left behind in the e-commerce frenzy, Walmart live streamed shopping events on TikTok. Amazon released a live platform where influencers promote items and chat with customers. Instagram launched a Shop feature that encourages users to browse and buy within the app. Facebook also kicked off Live Shopping Fridays for the beauty and fashion categories.
While the ongoing shift from in-person to online shopping continues, social brands are looking to bring additional commerce opportunities into their ecosystem. Live shopping looks to be the future of shopping.
Five Live Stream Examples
1) Global Citizen Live
With its stated mission to end extreme poverty around the world, Global Citizen knew it needed to rise to the occasion in the face of Covid-19. It was one of the first major organizations to launch a large advocacy effort with a series of Instagram Live concerts called “Together at Home,” which helped the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Less than a month later Global Citizen organized a companion TV broadcast special, which aired in 175 countries globally and on most major U.S. networks. Viewed by more than 270 million people, the special raised $127.9 million for frontline healthcare workers and the WHO.
2) Sotheby’s Auction of the Future
As the 2021 Webby Winner for Video Live Experiences (Branded), Sotheby’s Auction of the Future introduced an innovative new way of experiencing their flagship auctions. State-of-the art technology was employed across three continents to provide near-zero latency streaming of the high-definition broadcast and ensure the same for real-time bidding. Their multi-camera global live streams redefined the auction house as we know it and offered their audience new ways to engage with art and objects.
3) Fire Up 2021
As the 2021 Webby People’s Voice Winner for Live Experiences (Branded), Laura Kampf and Adam Savage built a good luck machine that got the whole world tweeting optimistically about 2021. Savage and Kampf went live on Laura’s YouTube channel to unveil a beast of a machine. Asking viewers to tweet with the hashtag #2021, the machine started to go faster, the propeller blade spinning, ultimately igniting the steel wool and turning the tweets about 2021 into a spinning fire display that symbolized excitement for the new year.
Fire Up 2021 was part of a larger campaign from Lenovo and Intel called For All of Us Fridays. It was a weekly series of Friday-based events that brought the magic back to the weekend. The online activation connected the audience with some of the internet’s hottest creators for engaging live events that gave people what they were missing most… that “Friday feeling.” Thousands of people tuned in and tweeted for the unveiling on YouTube Live. More than 2 million watched Fire Up 2021 on YouTube and Twitter, and over 20,000 people liked the machine.
4) Salesforce Live
With plans to broadcast an 11-part web series alongside other live-streaming initiatives in the pipeline, the marketing team at Salesforce was exploring ways to maximize organic viewership and engagement. Salesforce identified LinkedIn as a good fit because of the company’s strong built-in audience on the platform. With nearly 2 million followers on their LinkedIn Page, plus many Showcase Pages extending to different branches of specialization, the brand’s community on LinkedIn is robust and varied.
In late 2020, Salesforce tested the LinkedIn Live feature by simulcasting their biggest annual event, as well as episodic video content leading up to it. For the 11-part series, Salesforce drew over 600,000 organic viewers, with a 3% engagement rate that toppled benchmarks. “What was really amazing is that for our first episode, we actually saw over 83,000 views of the episode, with no drop-off of viewership during the full event,” Marissa says. “These are numbers you don’t usually see without paid media.”
5) “The ₿ Word,” a Crypto Council for Innovation
In order to keep the crypto convo going for the long term, Brandlive produced “The ₿ Word,” which brought together 45 cryptocurrency experts and three big name speakers into one, live-streamed event. The Brandlive team produced a fully branded experience one-day event that included 18 pre-recorded sessions and one live presentation. They put special focus on making pre-recorded content equally as dynamic and engaging as the live content. If they had to buy in PR what they achieved with The ₿ Word event—going viral, CNBC re-broadcasts, and overall reach—it would be equivalent to spending $171M.