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This is an intense time of year for marketers. First of all, there’s the obvious commercial opportunity inherent in gift-giving holidays. If you’re a B2C company that manages to stand out in people’s minds when they’re doing their holiday shopping, it can be extremely valuable and lucrative. Also, it’s the end of one year and the beginning of another, so there are lots of opportunities to tell people about what you accomplished in the past year as a company, or what you plan to do the future. It’s a great time to remind customers that they’re important to you and to grab the attention of new people looking to try things in the new year.

As marketers, we’re all looking for an extra edge around this time of year. So, how can you use live streaming to boost your marketing efforts? Here are a few things other companies have done:

Live Stream a Holiday Marketing Seminar (Google, Constant Contact, Facebook & Square)

As with all content marketing, providing value is the name of the game when it comes to marketing with live content during the holidays. For B2B companies, helping businesses succeed during the holidays is a great way to garner good will and raise brand awareness among potential customers. The holidays are a great time to live stream instructional webinars and trainings.

For example, in November the U.S. Small Business Administration Tech Coalition – Google, Constant Contact, Facebook and Square all teamed up to create a marketing seminar in time to help businesses with their holiday marketing efforts. The Marketing Wonderland Holiday ‘17 Seminar was a 2-hour workshop that took place in the morning on a Wednesday and was a great opportunity for many small businesses to come together to learn marketing strategy from some of the biggest names in business. The live stream allowed Google, Constant Contact, Facebook and Square to educate potential customers across the country on holiday marketing techniques (that may or may not have included paid technical services and products).

Live Stream A Demo Of Gifts (HP & Walmart)

A product demo can be a great way to inspire brand awareness during the holiday season. What better way to get people excited about what you have to offer than to show them? And with live streaming, you can give people the opportunity to ask questions about your products and see how they work before they buy them online.

For example, HP and Walmart used live streaming to sell out the new HP Laptop in time for the holidays. In order to garner more participation and engagement than they saw with traditional QVC and home shopping network models, the two companies looked to live streaming. With the help of an online video platform and distributor (AmpLive), they were able to have the audience participate, ask questions, pre-order, and purchase the items up for sale, all during the live event.

Through a strong targeting and distribution strategy, HP & Walmart saw huge live audiences and ultimately sold out of the new HP Laptop.

Live Stream A Holiday Special (Martha Stewart & Home Depot) 

Live streaming a holiday special can work for entertainers and big brands alike. This can be a year-end review of your company’s successes, a plan for the next year, a concert, or an interactive workshop.

One great example of a successful holiday marketing campaign is the 2015 partnership between Martha Stewart and Home Depot. At the time, leading up to the holidays, Home Depot was looking to diversify and expand its audience, and Martha Stewart was looking to launch a new line of products (Martha Stewart Living Collection) at Home Depot.

In order to reach the affluent DIY-er audience that was the target for both brands, marketers for Home Depot and Martha Stewart Living Collection organized a live DIY workshop sponsored by Home Depot and hosted by Martha Stewart herself. The live stream reached millions, and the campaign led to a large boost in web traffic and awareness for both brands.

 

In short, if you’re looking to stand out with your marketing efforts around the holidays, getting creative and strategic with a live event is a great way to do it!

 

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Last week was the seventh annual 24 Hours of Reality event. As we’ve discussed the power of live streaming for good causes, we think it’s important to draw attention to the success of the event, and the opportunity it represents. Here’s a recap:

Since 2011, former Vice President Al Gore has made it his mission to keep the topic of climate change in the public debate. In its first year, Climate Reality Project compiled a series of presentations and videos that would be broadcasted in every time zone in the world. The aim behind these early broadcasts was to raise awareness and encourage the public debate amidst a tumultuous political climate. Fast forward to 2017, CRP’s 7th broadcast, and their focus is changing that political climate.

In a year with such political upheaval it’s important to remember the universal issues that affect us all, such as climate change. It’s easy to view such a hot-button topic as just more fodder for the media to stir us up with, but the broadcast cuts straight through the noise. During such a long broadcast the creators have to keep the content new and fresh, but Climate Reality Project went above and beyond.

The stream covered 24 different countries (or regions) and the issues that plague them as a result of global warming. They covered the Australian public’s efforts to overcome the inaction of indecisive political leadership. Hour 4 was devoted to Mexico’s bold proposition of taking the country to 35% “clean energy” by 2024. Non-EU European countries who were, as they put it, “Going their own way,” even had a segment to themselves. It was a truly all-encompassing broadcast which outlined the paths to affecting change in our communities.

CRP was able to bring people from all around the world into a forum where they could discuss major change that affect the world. In a time where live streaming wasn’t available, such an undertaking would require tons of money and logistics. Getting all of those same people in the same room would have been next to impossible due to the distance between them. But the ramifications of climate change have no borders, nor does the power of live streaming.

Find the entire 24 hour recording of 24 Hours of Climate Reality on their YouTube page, or the Green Anglicans Facebook page.

Companies are constantly trying to find new ways to reach their audience, market their products, and stay relevant. In the current content marketing landscape, the number of distribution channels can be overwhelming. From blog posts to social media, marketing teams are always trying to keep their content fresh and interesting. In the midst of these options, live streaming often goes underutilized. From product rollouts to flagship user conferences, live streaming can be of the most versatile marketing motions in the industry.

Let’s go over 3 examples of how large corporations can use live streaming in their everyday marketing:

#1: Go Where Your Audience Is (Apple)

Finding a target audience can be difficult enough, but actually reaching that audience is another beast altogether. The best way to reach people is to market them in the places where they are already browsing. By marketing your products to your target audience where they hang out the most (the internet), your chances of garnering their attention increase substantially.

Apple is possibly the world’s most recognizable brand. Of all the major product releases we see every year, the seemingly annual announcement of the latest iPhone stands alone. While the conference is always impressive on its own, Apple’s distribution strategy is what sets it apart. Aside from Safari, all other internet browsers, including Chrome,  are blocked from streaming the announcement. The most important demographic for this announcement is iPhone users who do not have the newest devices and use Safari. Therefore, they are the ones who will see the announcement. 

#2: Exposure via social media (Brands at CES)

All promotion is good promotion, especially when it’s free. All you need to live stream a demo of a product or platform is a cell phone and a social media account. Leverage your company’s global notoriety to get in front of eyes. 1m twitter followers are 1m free eyes that have already chosen to view your content on a regular basis. Now that all of the major social media platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram) offer a live streaming function, it’s become even easier. When combined,  those platforms generate billions of video views every day. With the built-in targeting strategies that these platforms offer one can narrow down that audience of billions into thousands of more qualified viewers.

For example, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, many brands use the CES hashtag to get exposure for videos of people engaging with their products at the event.

#3: Cheaper product roll-outs (Texas Armoring Corporation)

Companies spend millions rolling out their newest products. Billboards and other more typical forms of paid media are archaic. If you go viral live streaming an innovative product launch, the free promotion lasts forever.  

In late 2014, one Texas company saw the true power of going viral:

Texas Armoring Corporation, a bulletproofing and vehicle armoring company, filmed a product test in quite the unique way. In an effort to show the degree of faith in their product, the CEO sat in the driver’s seat of an SUV while it was riddled with bullets from an assault rifle. At the end of the video, he simply exits the vehicle and implores you to get in contact if you’re interested. The video went quickly went viral, reaching over 17 million views since its release. That exposure was surely worth the cost of the windshield.

 

Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that live streaming is an important addition to any content marketing strategy. With millions of viewers tuning in to live streamed media every day, it’s impossible to ignore as a valuable channel for reaching almost any market.

While researching industry-wide statistics to demonstrate the trend toward live streaming in marketing, I happened upon this infographic by Koeppel Direct that summed it up pretty comprehensively:

Live Streaming Trends & Marketing Tips Infographic


When you’re using live content for business, it’s important to consider your tools carefully.

Most importantly, it’s important to do a little research on which online video platforms are out there, what they do, how they’re different from one another, and which would work best for you.

We all know about Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, Youtube and Periscope, and we’ve covered them before. Here’s the 411 on a few of our other favorites:

DaCast

DaCast is a San Francisco based OVP. They are a self-service, white-label, online video platform delivering live and on-demand streaming content. Combining their set of paywall technology with web-based streaming configuration leaves you with a one-stop-shop for all your streaming monetization needs. Among PPV technologies, these tools monetization tools include reselling opportunities, and Video On-Demand offerings (among many other features).

DaCast cloud video APIs allows you to customize not only your player but also provides access to video hosting services to fit your own business needs. What’s more, the API allows users to easily access a detailed suite of analytics regarding your broadcast. By giving users the data in raw form, DaCast gives users the ability to code custom displays, pick out the most relevant metrics, and gather the most important information for your operations.

Bambuser/Iris Platform

Bambuser’s Iris Platform allows for rolling out ultra low latency, HD video streaming without having to worry about stability, scaling, infrastructure or device fragmentation. Iris can either be used by companies looking to leverage mobile live video through a ready-to-go product suite with Iris Flow, or those looking to integrate live video capabilities into existing apps or mobile platforms using Iris Dev’s advanced developer tools. 

Livestream

Livestream is the only end-to-end live video solution, providing the platform to take your events live anywhere and measure the results, the hardware to stream it, and the services to make your live strategy shine. Livestream has been trusted in the industry for over 10 years, and now with their acquisition by Vimeo, they are positioned to be the a powerful streaming video platform for any creator or organization looking to broadcast their message or event and grow their digital audience and ROI. For more information on what makes Livestream different than other platforms, check out this article.

Bulldog Digital Media

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. They are best known for their work planning, creating, delivering, and now distributing live streams for music festivals, concerts, broadcast TV events, and product launches.

Stream

Stream is a premier live-first online video platform. It removes technological barriers to live streaming by opening up live video to all platforms and devices.

Stream enables media publishers, digital networks, brands, organizations, and broadcasters to capture high-quality live video while enjoying the features required to support live and VOD (video on demand) needs.

Stream developed to avoid third party dependencies, so organizations can effortlessly scale live-first video solutions across devices — from in-event mobile live streaming to embedded web players and more. Learn more here.  

Evia

Evia provides virtual event solutions for events of all sizes, connecting organizations to their live and virtual audiences. Through Evia Ground, they offer hands-on services for live streaming, on-demand video production, and custom development. Through the Evia Cloud event hosting platform, users can deliver event content to any device via secure, branded, customized event pages. Evia Cloud also provides analytics to help users better understand their audience and event.

On24

ON24 is a leader in webinar-based marketing solutions that drive demand generation and customer engagement. With a simple user interface and powerful webinar analytics and benchmarking tools, it’s a great platform for virtual training, town hall-style meetings, and corporate webinar events.

Ooyala

Ooyala assists with OTT video broadcasting through media management and consulting, video hosting, and monetization strategy. Ooyala is a good solution for content creators who are looking to streamline their operations or gain more subscriptions, ad views, or ppv purchases. While Ooyala is not all about live streaming, they do offer Ooyala Live to deliver and syndicate live content to Facebook, Periscope, Twitch, or Youtube.

 

Looking for advice and news from experts in live streaming, content marketing, and social media? Go find them in their natural habitat! Twitter is a great place to find a constant stream of up-to-date content on live streaming and marketing. Here are a few accounts we use to stay on top of all things live stream:

1. Ross Brand (@iRossBrand) and Livestream Universe (@livestreamuni)

Ross Brand interviews and introduces leaders and stars in the live streaming space. Check out @livestreamuni to access live streaming news, info on platforms and tools, and discussions about live content marketing strategy.

2. LiveStream Handbook (@LiveStreamBook)

Official twitter account for BBC broadcaster Peter Stewart’s book on live streaming. Posts are usually related to news and tips on live streaming best practices (and updates on the status of the book).

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3. Ross & Nez (@rossandnez)

Ross Brand teams up with business consultant and live stream expert Professor Nez to host live shows on live streaming, social media, and business. They have a podcast as well.

4. Jonathan Tripp (@jonathantripp) and #LetsLiveStream (@letslivestream)

#LetsLiveStream features Q&As about the role of live streaming in marketing and business. Jonathan’s feed is full of interesting conversations about the more theoretical/business questions that go along with live streaming.

5. Livestream (@livestream)

Check out Livestream’s hashtag #livestreamlearn for software demos and lessons on how different industries are using live streaming. Past interviews have focused on sports, design, music, and education, among other things.

6. The Livestream Expert (@kerryshearer)

This account features lots of info about live stream gear plus exclusive deals on things like smartphone mic mixers, handheld camera stabilizers, miniature lights, and cameras.

7. #SummitLive (@summitlive)

Summit Live is the premier live streaming media conference in America. They post regularly on news and events related to live streaming and content marketing.

8. JennyQ (@JennyQ)

Jenny Q’s twitter feed is full of interviews with experts in business, content marketing, and social media strategy. Check out Jenny Q’s feed to get a curated list of experts, and learn more about the practical and strategic sides of live streaming for business (and pleasure).

9. Kathy Klotz-Guest (@kathyklotzguest)

Kathy Klotz-Guest is an entrepreneur and author of Stop Boring Me, a book about crafting successful content marketing strategies through improv and storytelling. Check out her account to learn fun and valuable lessons about content strategy.

10. …aaaaand … AmpLive! (@ampliveinc)

Check out our twitter feed to get regular updates on our blog and other news about live streaming and content marketing. We write and post about how different industries are using live streaming to promote their businesses, and provide tips for how you can incorporate live streaming into your own marketing strategy.

Allocating your stream budget effectively and strategically is one of the biggest keys to successfully creating content that builds your audience and drives ROI.

For many marketers, content creation isn’t a problem. It’s easy enough to produce a live stream if you have a camera and internet connection. However, for professional marketers using live streaming, the problem is maximizing ROI through audience targeting and development. Maybe you have an existing audience that loves your stuff. How do you continue to make content that resonates with them while grabbing the attention of new readers/viewers/followers? And, how do you grow your reach and maximize impact without wasting money on tactics that don’t generate enough leads?

Here are some ways to make sure you maximize the value of your live stream budget:

1. Audience Targeting Support

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: When producing content, you must identify your target audience. Audience targeting is about finding your desired customer before they know you’re there. It’s the practice of identifying your ideal customer and focusing on them. Even your best content will never resonate if you don’t create it with a specific persona in mind. Ask yourself what topics your audience wants to see you cover, and don’t stray from that list.

In terms of budgeting — you can hire media-savvy companies [such as AmpLive 😉 ] to help with this. However, the main budget you’ll be dealing with in this case is just regarding time. And even though time is the most valuable currency, don’t cut corners here. Identifying the correct target audience is one of the most crucial factors in increasing ROI for all streaming efforts.

2. Production Team

Sometimes the only thing that separates two great live streams is the production value. All other things being equal, it can make or break you. Would you rather watch someone a stream of someone idly talking to the screen, or watch someone using a green screen, with professional lighting and cameras? When a viewer sees that you put time and effort into your broadcast, it further entices them to engage with your stream.  

3. Distribution Service

Audience targeting is important, but it becomes significantly more valuable and actionable if you have a distribution strategy to actually reach your target audience. Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to deduce where they like to browse on the internet so you can deliver your content to them. (We’ve touched a little on this in a previous post).

If your target audience is in the millennial age group, it’s probably not a good idea to advertise to them on AARP or sites aimed at retirees. In this instance you would be better served distributing your content via sites like Twitch, where your target audience is already browsing.

The distribution strategy will most likely require a financial investment, and should be carefully considered when organizing your live event. If you aren’t planning on investing in a distribution service, you’ll need to set aside extra time and money for promoting the event ahead of time to make sure people know where, when, and what you’ll be streaming (only about 50% of registrants show up to events, on average, so you’ll need to expand your event promotion to offset this loss).

4. Retargeting Service

As with any content marketing campaign, the interaction doesn’t stop at the main event. Sure, you’re more likely to be seen by more people, and by the correct people, if you develop content that is appealing and targeted, and you deliver along the correct channels in the proper venue. However, most people engage with one piece of content online and then move on.

While it may be easy to forget when mapping out your event budget, if you want to have a lasting impact on your audience, it’s important to invest in retargeting. Keep track of your viewers, and follow up with the ones who seemed open to learning more about you. This could be attempted through social media or through chat during the event, or it can be accomplished through a formal distribution and retargeting service.

People gravitate to a live experience. Playoff hockey and presidential debates allow us to huddle around a screen with friends and family.

But what makes this experience live? What gives un-edited live content its visceral appeal? Urgency, suspense, fomo are all driving forces of engagement for real-time events.

Will the RedBull skier make the jump? Will Kanye do something outlandish at Bonnaroo?

This is the new brand of suspense in the era of live media. However, live is often canned.

Canned content

What about live experiences around non-live events? Shows like Stranger Things & GOT have turned pre-recorded content into live experiences themselves. Fan talkshows and chatrooms bring real-time engagement to post-live content. If you don’t watch your favorite show live, you’re missing a crucial part of the fan experience and the memes that come with it.

Community building around specific moments is essential to establishing a live experience. Brands need to engage viewers on multiple channels before, during, and after live events in order to create a cohesive narrative.

Pokemon Go created a community around a live scavenger hunt. Amazon Prime Day created a community around flash sale commerce. Live community channels can be erected on top of branded events to drive engagement and loyalty. But community building must take place on multiple media touch-points to succeed.

Before, during and in-between live

Community grows in live moments. It happens in the comment sections of Twitch, Periscope, and Facebook Live streams. Adding concentric circles of dialogue around a live event makes for a richer media experience. Cross-platform narratives also mean better distribution. Conversations that spill over from Instagram Live to Twitter lets your story take on a second life after the stream has ended.

“Complementary channels allow for more engaged eyes and voices joining the conversation, which makes a richer social and creative environment,” says Eddie Vaca, CEO of AmpLive.

Keep the conversation going

An essential engagement layer to live is influencer commentary. Having select voices intermediate and amplify a B2C relationship brings a level of authenticity to your live messaging.

Personality-driven content like a Reddit AMA or a roundtable after Real Housewives of Atlanta brings intimacy to the storytelling. We remember the faces and personality on Morning Joe, not the nuances of the debate itself.

Platforms like Thinkwire offer expert commentary that can be layered onto any live stream. These structured influencer discussions promote the brand’s narrative through their personal social channels – building community and engaging audience on new channels.

Live experiences are all about driving conversation up to, during and in between events. Streaming is a key piece to this narrative and should always be paired with other live media channels.

 

 

Tal Schwartz is founder and CEO of Thinkwire.

Live streaming is a well-known medium for driving engagement with one’s audience. Product launches, webinars, and user conferences are just a few of the most popular ways to leverage streaming for your business. But recently, brands and advertisers have found new outlets they can devote their streaming energies to: fundraising and advocacy.

Flagship fundraising and advocacy events, such as Al Gore’s Climate Reality, have found new homes in the streaming universe. In addition to the larger, brand-sponsored events, independent streamers have found Twitch and Facebook Live as a viable fundraising platform. As influencers continue to build a rapport with their audience through streaming, garnering the support of the viewer becomes easier.

Raising Awareness Through Live Streamed Broadcasts

Each winter, through Al Gore’s organization, The Climate Reality project, people from 24 top carbon-emitting countries across the world participate in a 24-hour live broadcast called 24 Hours of Reality. Their goal is to raise awareness and support for sensible policy surrounding climate change. In 2016, the 24 Hours of Reality event was seen by 25.6 million people through boosted live stream alone. Almost 10% of those 25.6 million people clicked through to read more about climate reality on the 24 Hours of Reality landing page.

In terms of raising awareness, these numbers represent a huge victory, and a step forward for climate reality awareness.

Fundraising Through Gaming Live Streams

Gaming live streams are hugely popular, and get major traffic. Around 15 million people a day watch live streams on Twitch, so using this platform to fundraise for good causes could have an enormous impact. Tiltify is a crowdfunding platform that specifically exists to help people use their live streams to raise money for good causes. Specifically, Tiltify was created to allow the more than 45 million gamers live streaming from Twitch to build “Donate” CTAs on their Twitch channel pages, and host gaming live streams on landing pages dedicated to fundraising campaigns.

Fundraising Through Facebook Live

Since Facebook Live incorporated a donate button earlier this year, live streams have generated millions of dollars for causes and nonprofit organizations. Experiential marketing platform/agency Telescope, for example, helped raise $1.5 Million on FB Live since March. They worked on events like Stand Up to Cancer, One Love Manchester, Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief, and the ACLU’s Stand For Rights. Events like this utilize concerts and telethon-style events with celebrities to engage viewers and inspire them to donate.

 

In the context of global advocacy and fundraising campaigns, developing a strong international reach through live streaming is vital. Fortunately, OVPs and third parties are making it easier to leverage large audiences for good causes.

 

If you’ve ever been in San Francisco during Salesforce’s annual user conference, you’ll know that it isn’t just about teaching people to use cloud computing apps. Dreamforce is much more than that.

Last week, over 170,000 Salesforce users and aficionados flocked to downtown San Francisco to hear from CEO Marc Benioff, former first lady Michelle Obama, Ashton Kutcher, Girl Scouts of America CEO Sylvia Acevedo and other inspiring innovators. Talks covered the future of Salesforce services, as well as broader topics like the future of work in America, artificial intelligence, innovative trends in marketing, the economic gender gap, and technology as a force for good. To amplify their reach and invite more people into the conversation, most of the presentations were live streamed on Salesforce’s video page, as well as on media sites across the internet.

During his keynote speech, Benioff introduced us to five new Salesforce features: myLighting, mySalesforce, myEinstein, myIoT and myTrailhead. All five will allow for greater customization and functionality for users. Using companies like T-Mobile, 21st Century Fox, and Adidas as examples, Salesforce demonstrated the customizabile interfaces made possible by myLighting, myEinstein’s point-and-click AI builder, mySalesforce’s app builder, myTrailhead’s customizable training interface, and myIoT’s easy-to-use IoT flow visualizing tool. This keynote was live streamed to an audience of millions, but if you missed it you can still watch online here.

In addition to Salesforce product introductions and demos, Dreamforce featured over 2700 breakout sessions and 54 presentations. InsideSales.com founder Ken Krogue aptly summarized the main takeaways in his Forbes article Playmaking, AI Revolution, CRM Evolution, Giving Back: Highlights from Dreamforce 2017.

According to Krogue, speakers at Dreamforce expressed a belief that, in the context of a more complex sales communication landscape, CRM technologies are declining, leaving space for more innovative sales tech.

Marc Benioff covered technology more broadly, discussing the social impact of what he called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” in which millions of jobs will be created by technology, shifting the landscape of labor in America.

Another major topic was the importance of “playmakers” in the modern business world. According to speakers at Dreamforce, playmakers are people that use data to make informed sales decisions to maximize revenue. Playmakers know how to use the tools to play the game.

Finally (and most importantly, in my opinion), Dreamforce speakers across the board emphasized the importance of using the tech industry’s success to give back to the community, either globally or locally. With just 1% of their revenue, tech giants can have a huge impact.

As a marketer for a marketing platform, I’ve found the Dreamforce streams and messaging to be particularly fascinating and inspirational. If you’re a marketer, or just a concerned citizen curious about the future of tech and business, give the summaries and videos a look. And, (because it wouldn’t be an AmpLive post if we didn’t bring it back to live) check out the live streamed presentations next year.

 

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