Are you ready to go live? Why the time is now
Given the World Cup’s global appeal, it was an ideal time for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to unveil its latest research on live streaming. IAB found that nearly two-thirds of viewers plan to live stream action from the 2018 World Cup, which probably isn’t surprising given the varying local times of day the games take place.
But this survey wasn’t just about people catching a game at work or while commuting. IAB set out to “gain a better understanding of consumer experiences with and attitudes towards live video streaming.”
Indeed, we’ve heard a lot about live streaming in recent years as platforms like Periscope, Meerkat (RIP), YouTube Live and, of course, Facebook Live aimed to grab audiences thirsty for live video. It’s projected that video will account for 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2020, and live streaming’s share of that is growing.
According to the IAB report, 67 percent of consumers worldwide have live streamed video content, and statistics are promising for consumer marketers. For example, 64 percent of people who have streamed live video have engaged with ads.
But, as with much of marketing, B2C and B2B don’t run parallel. Sure, you could put a pre-roll ad in front of a live stream, but that’s probably not going to be the most effective use of live streaming for a B2B marketer. So, what is? What valuable insight can we draw from these findings to leverage live streaming in a business context?
Glad you asked.
First, let’s digest a few more notable statistics about live streaming. While we know that video content is popular, people spend three times longer watching live video compared to recorded.
It’s also been found that live video is more appealing to brand audiences. Four of five people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog or a social post.
And finally, live content on Facebook gets ten times more comments than other videos.
Armed with those nuggets, it’s easier to see how the following uses of live streaming can aid the B2B marketer.
Live streaming and live shows offer a powerful combination for companies. Trade shows, expos, conventions and similar meetings provide businesses with an array of opportunities to engage with customers.
For customers who may not be able to attend the show or can’t justify attendance because they have a limited interest in the overall event, your company can provide access by live streaming speakers or sessions.
You can also arrange and stream interviews with some of the experts and influencers at the show, offering a real value to your customers by making connections they may not have access to otherwise.
Another option is to pull back the curtains and go behind the scenes of your company at the event. Live streaming from your booth or exhibit can personalize your organization and give customers a peek inside your organization, strengthening the relationships you have.
A popular use in B2C marketing, new product introductions are a no-brainer for live streaming. What better way to unveil a new offering than by giving everyone access? Conduct a search for “Tesla Model 3 live launch” and Google will return you more than 6,870,000 results. A couple months after Tesla’s July 2017 event, GoPro launched its Hero 6 model with founder Nick Woodman on stage from San Francisco to much fanfare.
Your live stream may not garner the audience these high-profile events managed, but interested and loyal customers will be anxious to be among the first to see your new products. Furthermore, actually seeing the products is often preferable. An eMarketer study found that four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Similar to how a live stream can reveal new products, you can use live streaming to boost familiarity with and knowledge of existing products and services. This can be especially helpful for new customers because you can walk them through processes and acquaint them with your organization. According to Forbes, 59 percent of executives would rather watch a video than read text, so introduce them through an engaging live stream.
You can also provide existing customers with expert demonstrations to help them get the most of your products and services. Think about how stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer weekly exhibitions on how to tackle home improvement projects. They provide their customers with expertise on how to use the products they’re selling.
And finally, group conversations your customers may want with you can take a far more personal feel through a live stream than email or phone call. Seventy-nine percent of marketers say live video facilitates a more authentic interaction with an audience. Conference calls can be a chorus of different voices, whereas a live stream gives faces and clarity to the conversation.
Live streaming need not only be about marketing to your customers; it can help your organization internally as well. The IAB study found that the top three uses for live video were for the purposes of training, media/influencer briefings and broadcasting in-person events. In fact, at 30 percent, live video used for streaming tutorials or how-to videos ranked above news, at 27 percent.
For businesses that have multiple locations and facilities in different areas of the country or the world, live streaming can bring them all together and keep your staff informed and up to date with pertinent matters of your company.
You now have plenty of reasons to consider live streaming, so the next step is learning how to do it properly. You’ll have to determine where to find your audience and choose a suitable platform. The good news is that you don’t need expensive equipment and, while quality is important, viewers recognize live streaming for what it is and most don’t expect a highly polished finished product like a produced video.
And some closing advice, don’t forget to repurpose your live-streamed content for later use. Just because it was live doesn’t mean it can’t live again.