Live streaming is huge. Almost 1/3 of business video in 2013 was viewed via the live streaming pioneer Ustream. Don’t think people have time to watch live stream video? It was reported that the average viewing time of a stream was 25 minutes on uStream versus a mere 6 minutes for Hulu and 3 minutes for YouTube. uStream reported that there was more than 1 billion hours of enterprise live stream viewed in 2013 (see video at the end of this post for more details).
Amazon bought out live streaming platform Twitch for close to a billion dollars last year, and now Twitch streams more video than UStream, the WWE, ESPN and MLB.com combined, owning a massive 43-percent share of all live streaming traffic.
Fast forward to 2015 where Meerkat and Periscope, live streaming apps that anyone can easily launch and tweet out directly from their smartphone, are taking the world, or at least the venture capital world, by storm by allowing anyone to create “selfie” live streams of their life. While some may seem the emergence of these platforms as fads, TechCrunch writer Josh Constine eloquently expressed their potential as follows (I added the bold for emphasis):
[Meerkat] one-ups Twitter on its own mission “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Information only spreads if it has an audience, and nothing’s as compelling as live video.
Of course, fans of Google Plus Hangouts on Air know that you could live stream via YouTube and instantly archive those same live stream videos in YouTube since 2012. For those more interested in this, Social Media Examiner recently published an excellent post How to Stream Live Google Hangouts on Air to YouTube.
The net-net of all of this is that 1) live video is compelling and attracting a lot of eye balls and 2) it is becoming easier than ever to live stream through a variety of platforms. In fact we’re already seeing this technology permeate established industries such as the fitness industry with the launch of spinning classes live streamed to your home to doctors live streaming their surgery through Google Glass.
The intent of this introduction to live streaming is to reset your understanding of the technology and get you thinking outside of the box as to how your company can also leverage live stream, not just for marketing but as a core component of your product.
From a content marketing perspective, live streaming can make a powerful addition to everything else you do when used for the following:
1. Live Streaming Events – A No-Brainer
If your company does events, it is an absolute no-brainer that live streaming be added to the way your content is distributed. Live streaming your event gives you the following specific benefits:
- If you run an event where there is a cost for admission, adding a virtual ticket can help you better monetize your event.
- Physical events have physical limitations and usually cost additional resources for each additional attendee. Live streaming allows your event marketing to scale to reach a much larger audience.
- Your live streaming archives can now provide you a powerful source of videos which you can republish on your website as a lead magnet or repurpose into several videos which you can upload to YouTube.
It is this 3rd aspect of archiving your videos and repurposing them that enables you to truly harness the content marketing potential of your live streaming efforts. These videos are not only powerful for the inherent SEO benefits of being indexed on YouTube, but also for generating engagement as native uploads to Facebook.
As co-founder of the upcoming Social Tools Summit, it was an easy decision to make to live stream our event to a global audience that can’t travel out to Boston. I had a chance to ask our live stream partner for the event, Chad Abbott of Abbson Live, what his advice was for companies to looking to leverage live streaming for events:
The key to having a successful livestream is to think of things backwards. Don’t start with the mechanics of it. (Who will we hire to run it? Where will we put the cameras?) Instead, start with the content that is your live video. (What value do you want to receive from it? How can your live video fit into your broader content marketing plan?)
2. Creating New Live Streaming Content by Thinking Like a Broadcaster
As companies become content marketers and begin to publish our branded content, we become the media and everyone becomes a publisher. It’s now time to think beyond that and become a broadcaster. YouTube celebrities have come out of nowhere and become celebrities by leveraging this and creating, for lack of a better description, video programming similar to television shows.
Why don’t more businesses do the same?
Once you launch your blog, you are already establishing your social voice and adding value to the world with your unique perspective. With eyeballs searching for content in Google as well as consuming it in social media, you need to be present to capture share of eyeball. But with this many people consuming live streaming content, your brand is simply missing out by not being present in this growing landscape of live streaming broadcasters.
If you think about it, live streaming is no different than hosting a Twitter chat (different medium same concept) or being a guest on a Google Plus Hangout. It does require a content strategy, relevant branding, a choice of technology platform, and a format that both helps you meet your business objective and attracts a relevant audience. Your own “television show” could become one of the following:
- Answers to commonly asked questions
- Industry updates
- Inside-look at your company by interviewing different employees
- Customer interviews
One example I love to use is Cadbury’s use of live streaming on Google Plus.
Chad Abbott of Abbson Live had this to say:
After you think about how your live video will add value to you, it’s time to consider how it will add value to your audience. Just like any content-creation process, you have to GIVE more than you TAKE. Live broadcasts that are 85% sales pitches don’t get viewers and don’t get conversions. Livestreams that add real value to fans get views, engagement, shares, and, ultimately, whatever type of conversion you want. If you’re going to include a pitch, keep it to less than 5% of the video and make the broadcast all about giving tips, advice, things to think about, or something else that will be perceived as a value-add for your fans.
3. Flipping Your Reality: Using Live Streaming to Curate User-Generated Content and Engage with Your Community and Influencers
We will soon the emergence of Meerkat and Periscope celebrities much like we see on YouTube. Those with large Twitter followings can easily leverage these platforms to engage with their following and allow their followers to help virally spread their activity through engagement. Live streaming now can play an important role in companies Leveraging The Other: Having their fans talk about how much they love their products on their own live streams. These live streams could also be archived and, with permission from the creators, repurposed into a lot of different user-generated content that can be leveraged for a variety of objectives.
Take this concept one step further and think about the potential for influencer marketing through having influencers talk about your brand on their live streaming platform.
No matter which app or platform ends up dominating livestreaming action, one thing for sure is that billions of livestreams are going to make their way in front of consumers’ eyeballs this year, and marketers should be thinking about how to react to this new content type.
I can’t think of a better way to conclude this post. The technology is ripe. The eyeballs are there. How will your company evolve to leverage potentially the most compelling type of content marketing available?
Still not convinced of the potential benefits of live streaming? Check out this infographic … or if you have more live streaming questions feel free to tweet @AbbsonLive and they’ll help you out!!