Last week, marketers from around the world gathered at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco’s Union Square to learn more about the increasing role of webinars in digital marketing. The second annual Webinar World, hosted by On24, featured keynotes by executives from On24, Forrester, Gimlet Media, Heinz Marketing, and TOPO Inc, and breakout sessions focused on webinar best practices, marketing strategy, and webinar execution.
Here were some major takeaways from the event —
Webinars Can Play A Role At Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journey
Presenters at 2018’s Webinar World showed a range of goals and strategies for their webinar promotion and content. One thing that stood out among these differences, was the ability to use webinars to engage people at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Each stage requires a different promotion strategy and a unique approach to live content.
According to Annie Lei, CRO of the live stream audience development platform AmpLive and presenter of “You’ve Planned The Perfect Webinar — Here’s How To Make Sure People See It,” top-of-the-funnel webinars should be eye-catching and distributed to new audiences. That way, you can capture the attention of your target audience on a large scale, increase brand awareness, and deliver your message to people who haven’t heard it before. Nurturing content, on the other hand, can be more technical and promoted to your existing contacts and followers. In general, technical content like product demos are better for people toward the end of the buyer’s journey, when they’re making a decision about purchasing your product.
Webinars Are Going Global
With tools like On24, lots of companies are finding ways to overcome the challenges of streaming live to people in other countries, and scaling their content across the globe. Oracle’s Karim Mokhnachi, VP of South & ECEMEA Marketing, argued for a stronger international webinar strategy in his session, “The Role of Webinars in a Successful Global Digital Marketing Strategy.” Through tools that provide easy subtitle uploads and “simu-live” event hosting, differences in language and time zone are no longer substantial barriers to reaching global audiences. When companies have to reach audiences in other countries, simu-live webinars allow for more personal interaction and engagement than blog posts, emails, or static ads can provide.
Webinars Are A Valuable Tool for Account-Based Marketing
In the B2B world, reaching target accounts with is one of the most important challenges marketers face. Account-specific webinars can play an important role in teaching teams at larger companies how to use your product. They can also make companies feel like you value their business. You can even use your live content to put your company on the radar of professionals at target accounts that haven’t yet engaged with your content elsewhere. This is thanks to a new partnership between On24 and AmpLive, announced by On24’s CEO and CTO during their Keynote on Tuesday afternoon. The specific feature that will help marketers use live content to capture the attention of specific accounts is called account-based distribution. It leverages a massive data pool to make sure specific job titles at over 8000 target companies see webinar content while it’s live.
Webinar Producers Need To Be Storytellers
In his keynote, “The Power Of Storytelling in a Digital World,” Gimlet Media CEO and Co-Founder Alex Blumberg walked the Webinar World audience through a series of snippets of interviews and finished produced audio. He argued that good storytelling has a rhythm with regular points of interest each minute, and displays emotional honesty. Good storytelling is what makes people feel connected to your content and keeps them engaged, but it takes time, editing, and a thoughtful ear.
Speaking at a conference can be a great marketing opportunity. Speaking gigs give professionals a chance to educate, engage, and amplify messaging for their brand, while getting their name out and putting a public face on their company. Conference audiences are guaranteed to be interested in your company’s industry and should be respected as potential partners and leads.
As seasoned conference attendees and large-scale conference curators, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. From straight-up memorized sales pitches to pure product jargon, we’re tired of watching content be about companies and not about their audiences. Here’s a quick list of Dos and Don’ts to help you out with your next speaking engagement:
- Do set the stage for your presentation. This sounds obvious, but is one of the most common mistakes we’ve seen. People don’t frame the context of their presentation, so participants don’t even know if they should care or not. Lay the framework at the beginning: Who is your demographic? Why should they care? What industry? If you prefer, you can casually provide this information with a case study.
- Do incorporate stories and case studies that prove your points. Storytelling helps put people in the shoes of a happy customer, and connect emotionally with your what your product has to offer. Explain how excited your client was to tell their boss about how many leads you helped them capture. Describe the look on your customer’s face when they realized how much your product did for them.
- Do give at least 1 tangible fact with each story. Mix your stories up with actual results. Combining narratives with tangible results has the highest impact. Tip: If you’re scared of giving away your numbers, you can always discuss the percentage of improvement. For example, instead of “500 new customers” you can say “a 50% increase in customer acquisition” or “Doubled customer acquisition!”
- Do engage your audience. Regardless if your presentation lasts an hour or if you’re giving your talk right before lunch, sometimes people get bored. And that’s ok. But that’s always why you should try to engage your audience. You don’t even have to ask people to raise their hand, even pointing out coworkers or clients in the audience will help engage them in their surroundings.
- Don’t read from a wordy powerpoint. In the words of the infamous Dwight Schrute, “Powerpoints are boring.” Nothing acts like a wall between you and your audience quite like a screen full of words that they feel like they have to read while you’re talking.
- Don’t just talk about your company. Most people have paid to attend the conference, and don’t want to be advertised to. They may resent hearing an extended sales pitch, because it can come off as self-serving. Make sure your content is focused on adding value to your audience. Use the opportunity to educate them about a multitude of solutions to a problem (maybe that your product just happens to solve).
- Don’t ignore your audience. Ask them to guess a number or give a show of hands. Let them know that they’re a part of the conversation, and that you’re here for them.
- Don’t forget a CTA. You’d never forget to put a CTA in your emails or your landing pages, so why do so many speakers forget to motivate their audiences at the end of a talk or panel? Even if it’s a casual “Drop by afterwards to say ‘Hi!’”, always ask to engage with your audience further. You’re there for a reason, and those last moments are the most important. Get your audience to take an action.
If there’s one major takeaway, never forget about content and never forget about your audience. Time and time again we always want to reiterate, as a speaker and business leader, you have a commitment to your audience to bring true value.
We created SummitLive to showcase top quality, educational live video content. We’re not just giving audience’s value at the event, we represent the industry standard for live content.
Get your hands on real content at SummitLive with 15% off (automatically applied if you click this link).
In a technologically globalized world, it’s becoming more and more important to synchronize marketing messaging and marketing standards collaboratively. Advertising Week is trying to help this process through a global network of events for thought leaders in the advertising and marketing space. Now, fortunately, this effort can be expanded and amplified online.
AmpLive is an audience development and targeting platform for enterprise marketers using live video. Born out of the online video platform UStream (which would later become IBM’s live streaming service), AmpLive founders recognized the value of widespread live content distribution. Now, the platform distributes live content across a network of high-traffic publishers at scale to reach a targeted audience.
With the power of AmpLive’s extensive audience network, Advertising Week is able to reinforce and expand their community by opening up their regional events to everyone via live stream technology. Marketers from San Francisco to Shanghai can now discover and attend seminars and workshops in Mexico City, and stay up-to-date in an ever-evolving global advertising landscape. Over the course of the year, AmpLive will officially be partnering with Advertising Week to lift the voices of innovative marketers in Europe, Asia, Australia, across the Pacific, and back to the United States.
To discuss the impact of live streaming on the advertising and marketing industries, AmpLive’s CEO Eddie Vaca will be speaking on a panel on live streaming at this month’s Advertising Week LATAM event.
About the Partners
AmpLive is a live stream distribution, audience development, and targeting tool. With the help of a massive, evolving pool of data, AmpLive’s platform provides audience tracking capabilities to segment audiences and adjust distribution in real-time to ensure engagement and conversion potential. After the event, marketers can use AmpLive to retarget audiences based on engagement, action, company, demographic, or characteristic. AmpLive allows marketers to get strategic about live content and maximize ROI on live events.
Advertising Week is a global network of annual events focused on creating a conversation about current trends in advertising, marketing, and tech. Several times a year, innovators and experts in marketing and advertising gather across the globe to give keynotes, participate in panels, provide demonstrations, and discuss case studies in order to help educate their peers and further the communication industry. February 12-15 will mark the first Advertising Week of 2018, and also the inaugural Advertising Week Latin America, which will take place in Mexico City and will focus on advertising trends throughout Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
The amount of available live streams on the internet increases drastically every day. As more marketers and broadcasters find it to be a useful medium, more of them are adopting streaming into their business strategies. As with most marketing initiatives, streaming is an exposure play, content creators want the maximum number of eyes on their content. But in today’s day and age, one must create an eye-catching live stream to get the viewer’s attention within the first few seconds of viewing.
Video consistently performs better than other kinds of digital advertising media online, but it’s still important to stand out from other marketers breaking into the live video game.
Here are some tips and tricks for making sure you create an eye-catching live stream that viewers will see.
1. If you have the budget, consider paying for professional production.
You can spend next to nothing to stream from your phone or hire an award-winning production company that will create an Oscar-worthy web series. There are now production companies that focus on live streaming. Some specialize in fashion, others in tech, music festivals, or company webinars. So, which is best for you? Well, that depends on budget.
For example, a typical one-camera shoot with a decent production company will run anywhere from $5000-$8000. On the other hand, as more and more brands are shooting compelling content on mobile phones, the cost of production is edging towards 0. But before you decide to go the iPhone route, be sure that you’re providing higher content value in exchange for the loss in production value.
2. Build FOMO with your live content.
People gravitate to a live experience. The fact that a video is live and will end at some point already contributes to viewers’ fear of missing out, so make sure your video’s frame or background clearly indicates that the stream is live. A countdown to the end can increase this effect even more.
If you want to stand out from other live content, there are some additional steps you can take as well. Make sure your content provides the viewer with an incentive to stay in your audience. By placing special announcements or giveaways at the end of a stream, the viewer’s F.O.M.O will hopefully force them to stay until you close the proverbial curtain (of course, be sure you’ve made it clear that this is what you plan on doing so people know they have something to wait for).
3. Involve relevant influencers.
Content promoted by influencers can be especially eye-catching. For example, when Home Depot wanted to boost holiday sales, they found that having Martha Stewart on screen during a live event helped attract a large audience. Give your audience an opportunity to engage with a recognizable face in a live context.
This is especially useful for events that are meant to raise awareness or funds for a cause. Each year, 24 Hours of Climate Reality with Al Gore regularly garners millions of viewers (check out this case study to learn more). Of course, this is in part due to the topic, but the presence of Al Gore and celebrity hosts can be the thing that first catches a viewer’s eye.
4. Emphasize personal interaction with your audience.
Ultimately, your live stream is about communication, and just like any other interaction, it’s important to use body language that indicates that you (or whoever is on camera) care about what you’re talking about and how your audience feels. Make eye contact. Lean in. Try to move around. Take advantage of the fact that your content is live and in motion.
5. Most Importantly … Know Your Audience!
With the ease of today’s content creation, audiences are more diverse than ever. Take the time to survey your audience, ask for feedback and engage with your viewers on a regular basis. The more interactive your broadcast is, the deeper the connection with your audience will be.
For example, if you run a broadcast focusing on the current political climate, maybe tone down the on-screen elements. Your target viewers will likely be attracted to a more serious aesthetic, and minimizing on-screen distractions can help them focus more on the meat of your content. If you plan on streaming a holiday crafting session, create a seasonal frame that gets people excited about the time of year.
Webinars, panels, and conference keynotes tend to perform best when there is a dynamic, professional-looking, preferably recognizable leader on screen talking, while powerpoints are less dynamic and don’t fully grasp the attention of professional audiences. As I mentioned earlier, you want to take advantage of the fact that you’re working in a medium that incorporates motion. Why turn your dynamic content into something stationary? If you can, avoid motionless, text-heavy elements.
Knowing who your audience is and what they want will help you determine what kind of on-screen and frame elements will attract attention, and what kind of content will keep them engaged.
What’s more, what you learn from how your audience reacts to your live stream will provide valuable information about what kind of content, influencers, frames, and layouts will perform well for future live events. Make sure you have access to a platform that provides you with analytics and specific information about your audience.
*This blog was originally published on DaCast.com*
Live streaming is breaking all sorts of records. Tens of millions now regularly tune into major live video stream broadcasts. That’s a huge audience. But with huge audiences can come technical issues. Major live streams have been plagued in the past by all sorts of quality problems.
Any broadcaster wants to avoid these issues. This blog will look at quality problems and how to prevent them. Specifically, we’re going to look at how to scale a live video stream to hundreds of thousands, millions, or tens of millions of users.
This entails a number of different factors. Quality when streaming to a large audience involves a big technology stack. There are multiple points of potential failure. Luckily, live streaming has been going through a trial by fire as it becomes increasingly popular. This blog will teach you the important steps to ensure quality—no matter what.
Why is live video streaming to a large audience difficult?
Non-technical readers should read this to understand why streaming to a large audience is difficult. When data is sent across the internet, it travels a convoluted path. A live stream typically flows from a video cameras, to a live stream encoding software or hardware, to a local network, to your ISP (Internet Service Provider), to a live streaming CDN (Content Delivery Network), and then finally to viewers (via their ISPs).
This data typically travels via cable (although WiFi may play a role in the early stages, depending on your streaming setup). There are many areas of this process where bottlenecks can occur. Cables have limited bandwidth. Encoders can be overloaded. Local networks can be slow.
The higher quality your broadcast, and the larger your audience, the more total data you need to send. The more data you send, the longer it may take to arrive.
What you need to know to reach audiences of 1 million+
These problems can be bypassed, with the right approach.Huge audiences can be found for live sports, business streaming, non-profits, and more. But how exactly can you scale your live video stream to reach a huge audience? Let’s move on now to these details. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the following topics:
Let’s get to it.
Make sure you have enough bandwidth
The first key to reaching a huge audience with your live video stream is making sure you have enough bandwidth. For broadcasters, this means specifically looking at upload speed.
The speed of any internet connection is measured in two different ways. Download measures how fast you can retrieve content from the internet. Upload measures how fast you can send content out.
Typically, upload speeds are much slower than download speeds. However, most modern connections are capable of 25 Mbps upload speed or so. This is more than capable for a High Definition live video stream in multiple bitrates.
To check your internet speeds, visit testmy.net. I recommend running at least three tests over a period of time, then averaging the results to determine your upload speed.
Maximize the speed of your internet connection
The next essential step is making sure that you can actually take advantage of all that upload speed. There are a few specific recommendations we have here.
First, use a wired internet connection (Ethernet cable) whenever possible. Ethernet is simply faster and more reliable than WiFi. Even modern WiFi, which can match Ethernet speeds in some instances, isn’t as steady as a wired connection.
Second, if you must use WiFi, get the best signal possible. This may mean moving closer to your router. There are a number of factors that play into the strength of a WiFi signal. Check out this guide to improving WiFi connection speeds if you must stream via wireless signal.
Third, remove other internet-connected devices from the network. If you’re trying to live stream, and a colleague is simultaneously watching an HD video stream in their office, it may cause problems. Whenever possible, try to use a dedicated line for live streaming.
Fourth, close other internet-connected apps on your computer. If you’re using a computer-based software encoder (as most broadcasters do), make sure that any extraneous apps aren’t clogging up your internet connection. Close unnecessary email clients, chat apps, web browsers, downloads, and so on.
Stream in multiple bitrates to reach your entire audience
If you’re trying to reach a million people, you’re likely reaching a diverse audience. It may include users on a wide variety of device types and connection speeds. Some may be watching on an antique smartphone via a 3G cell connection. Others may be watching via the latest 4G LTE. Some may be on a fiber optic connection, while other may be on rural DSL lines.
The point is, you have to provide a good experience to all of them if you expect them to keep watching.
The best way to do this is by providing your live video stream in multiple bitrates. Bitrate corresponds with quality, as well as with connection speed. When used with an adaptive video player, this strategy means that viewers with fast internet will be delivered a high-bitrate, high-quality version of the stream. Those with slow internet will be delivered a lower-bitrate, lower-quality version of the stream.
While the quality may be lower, this approach minimizes or eliminates buffering issues. This is essential, since viewers begin to abandon a video as soon as buffering begins. Around 6 percent leave per second of buffering.
Choose a robust encoder
If you’re streaming to a very large audience, you need a robust encoder. An encoder is what transcodes video from your cameras into a format suitable for a live video stream. They come in two varieties: hardware or software.
Video streaming software is generally more popular. They run on computers. If you’re using a software encoder, the best way to ensure robust operation is to run it on a powerful computer. Make sure you have plenty of processing power, RAM, and so on.
Hardware encoder selection is beyond the scope of this article, but most hardware encoders are high-quality equipment capable of streaming to a huge audience.
Use the right encoder settings
We recommend the following settings for almost every live video stream.
- Video codec: h.264
- Keyframe interval: 2 seconds
Standard video resolution settings
- 426 x 240 pixels (240p)
- 640 x 360 (360p, Low Definition)
- 854 x 480 (480p, Standard Definition)
- 1280 x 720 (720p HD)
- 1920 x 1080 (1080p, or Full HD)
- 3840 x 2160 (4K or Ultra HD)
Many different bitrates are acceptable for a live video stream. In fact, you may wish to stream in multiple bitrates, as we’ve mentioned. These settings should be matched with the resolutions listed above.
- 500 Kbps (lowest required bitrate for streaming, for 240p)
- 1.5 Mbps (recommended for quality viewing, for 360p)
- 3 Mbps (for 480p Standard Definition)
- 5-8 Mbps (for 720p and 1080p High Definition)
- 25 Mbps (for 4K Ultra High Definition)
- Audio codec: AAC
- Audio bitrate: 64 Kbps for 240p and 360p video. 128 Kbps for 480p and 720p video. 256 Kbps for 1080p video and up.
Using a powerful CDN to deliver your live video stream
A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is very important for streaming to a large audience. A CDN network is composed of servers located around the world. This network will deliver live streams to viewers based on the fastest possible server (generally, one that is geographically close to them) at any given time.
This “edge routing” reduces bottlenecks and delivers the best possible experiences to viewers.
Generally, we recommend using a video streaming service that partners with a global CDN like Akamai. This will give you the best of both worlds. From the CDN, you’ll get world-class content delivery. And from the video streaming service, you’ll get a set of video-specific features to ease all your live streaming needs.
Click here to check out our comparison of video streaming platforms.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the challenges of live streaming to huge audiences. While they are significant, the rewards can be even bigger. The tips we’ve provided here should help you to successfully stream to a million viewers or more, all at once.
Best of luck with your live video stream, and thanks for reading!
Max Wilbert is an author for DaCast. DaCast Streaming as a Service™ is a self-service, white-label, online video platform delivering live streaming and VOD over the Akamai CDN at affordable prices. A comprehensive set of content management and paywall tools allow one-stop streaming and monetization totally under the control of the broadcaster. Video APIs and SDKs are available for a quick and easy integration of all DaCast features into a wide variety of digital media workflows and for resellers.
Fortune 500 companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Facebook have proven that live video content can spike ROI and overall engagement. The unparalleled success of this engagement has secured the future of live stream-based marketing.
Despite its value, few marketers are currently incorporating marketing solutions into their live strategies, and there’s little industry consensus on best practices. AmpLive has made its mission to facilitate conversations and foster learning among marketers working with or considering the live video medium. That is why we’ve decided to acquire and grow SummitLive.
What is SummitLive?
SummitLive was founded in 2015 as the premier live content conference in the country. As of 2018, AmpLive is hosting innovative marketers at SummitLive to learn and share the role live streaming plays in marketing and enterprise business. Eddie Vaca, CEO of AmpLive, stated: “Through our work with enterprise clients, we know the value and results of live stream in enterprise solutions, so we’re really excited to help lead the way for others in the industry.”
Summit is also proud to announce its major expansion to San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas in addition to the premier Los Angeles event. Summit is now establishing a new standard for the live ecosystem by featuring the trailblazers and integral technologies of live.
The Founder of SummitLive, Ryan Bell, reaffirmed: “SummitLive has grown. As major brands began to show up, we began to feel the need to grow into something more professional. Our partnership with AmpLive puts us at the center for companies to connect, find tools and learn best practices in live broadcasting. I’m extremely excited for the future.”
The event will showcase the industry’s latest trends, solutions, keynotes, panels, breakthrough case studies, hands-on workshops, and vital networking opportunities. SummitLive will inevitably define not just the way the live industry is run, but the entire media landscape. To maximize audience engagement and impact, the entire conference will be live streamed for public viewership!
For a day full of learning, collaborating, and networking, grab highly limited Super Early Bird access tickets before they all sell out!
We’re also now accepting speaker applications for San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Las Vegas. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for speaker, sponsorship, and partnership opportunities.
AmpLive is an audience development and targeting platform for enterprise marketers using live video. With the help of a massive (and growing) pool of data, AmpLive distributes live content across a network of high-traffic publishers at scale to reach a targeted audience.
SummitLive is the premier live content event held across the nation. Top business executives and professionals are gathering from around the world to learn, share, and collaborate. SummitLive is redefining and reinforcing the new standard for live, by establishing an interactive, meaningful, and results-driven dialogue from start to finish.
Bulldog DM and AmpLive have partnered to allow content owners, brands, agencies and live event producers to amplify live events and increase audiences and viewers. The partnership will leverage AmpLive’s syndication capabilities to enhance Bulldog DM’s best practice live stream agency. In short, Bulldog DM’s users just gained the ability to amplify and specify their audiences to help convert viewers to customers.
Bulldog DM (recently featured in Forbes) is the world’s first and most experienced live streaming agency.
Bulldog DM works with the world’s top experiences and music festivals to guide their live stream strategies with brands, marketers, agencies and distribution platforms.
In the context of recent increases in cord cutting, rampant adoption of ad blockers and brand safety, brands are encountering more challenges in traditional advertising.
Entrusted by some of the world’s best brands like Rock In Rio, The Climate Reality Project, Amazon and Universal Music Group, AmpLive helps meet these challenges by targeting live viewers based on demographics, geography and interest categories, and pairing them with relevant partner publishers. Live streams are then distributed across an audience network of over 150 million qualified viewers and 3000 premium publishers, such as the New York Times, and Rolling Stone and TechCrunch. This helps brands acquire new audiences beyond and in addition to Facebook Live and Youtube.
With AmpLive, views are guaranteed, and targeted audience data is reported in real-time.
After the event, AmpLive’s proprietary technology retargets the viewer as soon as they disengage from the stream to drive them further toward conversion.
“There is no denying the engagement and impact of live streaming in media today. We are seeing the development of the experience economy where people want to invest in events and experiences and if they cannot attend in person they want to have collaborative and participatory experiences that our best practice live streaming approach provides. Now with AmpLive we are able to extend these experiences to even larger and more engaged audiences creating a win for all stakeholders” said John Petrocelli, CEO and founder of Bulldog DM.
“What you have here is two companies coming together to provide the livestreaming industry better insight into live audiences. Bulldog DM works with the best live experiences and music festivals and AmpLive delivers the best audiences. Together this is a big win for fans wanting more live content and sponsors wanting to reaching these audiences,” said Eddie Vaca, founder and CEO of AmpLive.
Interested in learning more? Click here.