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.
This week, marketers from across the bay area flock to On24’s second annual Webinar World conference to discuss strategies and best practices for using live content. The event features talks by leaders from companies like Gimlet Media, Salesforce, SiriusDecisions, and IBM Cloud, speaking on topics related to marketing strategy, webinar best practices, and webinar execution.
The event speaks to the standing of live content in the business world, which is becoming more ubiquitous as a key tool for the modern marketer. At this point, 73% of marketers (majority B2B) say that webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads. 57% of marketers say they have live video in their content schedules for 2018. According to GoToWebinar’s 2017 Big Book of Webinar Stats, companies in industries from tech to real estate are producing as many as 23 webinars a year, on average, and seeing a huge impact on lead generation.
You can spend next to nothing to stream from your phone, or hire an award-winning production company that will create an Oscar-caliber web series. There are tons of production companies who now specialize in live streaming. Some specialize in fashion, others in tech, music festivals, or webinars. You name it and there is a company who can do it. The question is, of course, what is your budget, what are your goals, and what does your audience expect from your industry? A typical one-camera shoot with a decent production company will run anywhere from $5000-$8000. A multi-camera shoot can range in the tens of thousands, and a midsize music concert starts at quarter million. On the other hand, as more and more brands are shooting compelling content on mobile phones, the cost of production is edging towards zero.
Chances are you already know what your audience expects from your industry. If not, check out what your competitors are live streaming. Are their streams shot from multiple angles? Do they have mics on their speakers? If you stray from the standard, be sure you’re adding value. Being the first to produce a well-lit and mic’d fireside chat when most of your industry is streaming Q&As from their laptops could give you a competitive edge.
A typical viewer will drop off after 3 seconds if the content does not “speak to them”, so your digital story must be compelling – interesting, funny, relevant, useful, entertaining and hopefully all of the above. We’ve seen B2B marketers have a lot of success with the following forms of content:
A. Demos – Hosting a demo of your product allows potential customers to see what the product looks like and how it performs, foster interaction between your business and customers by allowing them to ask live questions and drive instantaneous interest. Couple that with a “buy now” button that links to an e-commerce backend and you’ve got instant conversions.
B. Educational Webinars – Reach new audiences by answering questions and addressing their professional challenges through educational webinars. Offer industry trends, new technologies, or new strategic insight, and establish your product as a solution.
C. Backstage Passes at Conferences – Major user conferences today are becoming more like concerts or festivals in terms of attracting dedicated customer fans. Give your users and leads a glimpse behind the scenes, with interviews and close-ups/exclusives with your most well-known speakers.
D. Product Launches – Similar to live streaming demos of your product, live streaming product launches can give users an opportunity to see your product and buy it all in the same place, without leaving their desk.
E. Industry Specific Thought Leadership – Enterprise companies such as Microsoft, Dell and GE are embracing live streaming at conferences and virtual events to showcase their thought leadership on topics such as data security, cloud computing and even drone engineering.
The universe of online video platforms expands beyond Facebook Live, Twitter, and YouTube. Platforms vary in terms of features, scalability, and target audience (for more information, check out Eight OVPs You Need To Know If You’re Marketing With Live Stream). Some considerations here would be your target audience and your goals in terms of scale and format. Some companies have partnerships with AmpLive and can facilitate large-scale distribution and audience targeting from within their platforms, while others will require an extra step. Other platforms are built for smaller, more intimate webinars that are mainly slide-based. For a B2B audience, just sticking to social media may not be your best option.
If you’re putting on live virtual events and using live video, you probably already know that it’s tough to count on people to tune in at a specific time. B2B audiences in particular are busy, and it’s not always easy for them to discover your live stream on Facebook or Twitter during work hours. At the moment, the most common way to drive tune-in is still to send out invites to your email list and hope that people register and show up to your event. However, with marketing email open rates hovering around 18% across all industries and landing page bounce rates around 90% for most registration pages, this method is clearly not the most efficient. As live streaming becomes more ubiquitous, live content distribution companies have emerged, helping broadcasters find the scalable live audience for their content – in real time, regardless of their engagement on existing channels. Distribution tools (like AmpLive) help make sure you reach your target audience, even if they bounced or forgot to attend.
Now that you’ve got eyeballs on your live stream, your job is done, right? No. It has only just begun. Who are these viewers? What do they like about my content? Do they want to hear from me again? Will they buy my product? These are all questions that can be answered with data collected from the moment the viewer engages with your content. Optimize your content strategy over time to deliver content that converts more efficiently. After the initial live stream, re-target your audience to drive them further down the sales funnel to result in conversions.
So, this is what matters in the end. You must back engagement with quantifiable results to prove ROI, and it all comes down to CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). How much do I have to spend in marketing dollars to get a paying customer? With growing live video distribution capabilities out there, you now have the tools to not only increase your reach, but retarget your audience based on engagement or segment, which can increase your chances of converting new leads through your live content.
As an audience development platform, most of AmpLive’s new clients are aiming to expand their reach. We see this all the time, and it makes perfect sense… For a lot of people, the goal is to simply get their live video in front of as many qualified (real human) eyeballs as possible. In this case, you would probably care primarily about the number of viewers your live stream encountered. In terms of brand recognition and awareness, this is a perfectly valid metric to focus on.
However, over the years we’ve found that one important metric may get lost beneath the viewer number, and it really needs attention. This is the “engaged viewer” metric.
So, what does that mean, exactly? And how does it tie into hitting other goals you may have, like driving action from your viewers?
First, it might be helpful to define an engagement as it relates to live content….
In terms of video content, you probably already know that engagement usually relates to action. The exact definitions vary between platforms. On the AmpLive platform, any unique user action in relation to your live video (such as a mouse-over, unmute, or click on the creative or the video player) qualifies as an engagement. The reason an engagement is so valuable is that it’s the best indication of someone discovering and watching your content. Think of an engagement as a viewer who has met the most stringent standards.
To be a viewer, you have to have the player 100% in-view (not 1 pixel below the fold, or behind another open tab) for a minimum of 5 seconds. (It’s worth noting here that these requirements vary among platforms… Facebook Live, for example, only requires 3 seconds of full view to qualify a viewer.) To be an engaged viewer, you have to meet all of those parameters, AND mouse over the player, unmute, or click. So it makes sense that increasing the % of viewers who become engaged, and then leveraging those engaged viewers for retargeting would be your best strategy for ultimately converting viewers.
So How Do I Increase My Engagement Rate Through Segmentation?
A typical engagement rate on our platform is around 12%, and there are definitely some optimization steps you can follow between events to ensure you are maximizing your potential for engagement.
- Always include past engaged audiences from your previous boosts in your targeting strategy. This audience has interacted with your content before and is more likely to interact again.
- Pull a report of the top-performing interests and job titles from your dashboard overview. Focus on targeting those audiences for future events. Note that you may notice a decrease in overall reach as you narrow down your targeting. However, these audiences will perform better and be more likely to engage, click, or take another action.
And How Do I Optimize Distribution to Maximize Engagement?
You can remove certain sites from your distribution list if they’re proving to consistently under-perform in terms of engagement.At this point, you’ll really need to be working with a distribution tool and a team. If you’re interested in removing certain under-performing publishers or sites, the AmpLive Operations team can also help create a customized site list to run against. Look at where your live stream is being displayed and which locations are getting the best engagement (on the AmpLive Platform you would download the “Top Boost Sources” report and then sort the sites by engagement rate). Then, adjust your parameters. You can send an email to your account manager and they can implement a small blacklist on the back end moving forward, so you don’t waste time showing your content to people who aren’t engaging with it. It will always be a good idea to download and monitor that report every few events.
Once again, engagement is the first step towards converting a viewer. Start working towards improving the engagement rate and you’ll be in a much better position to convert your live viewers into customers later on!
1. Embrace the fact that your content is live.
You probably already know that live broadcasting has the unique ability to capitalize on a sense of FOMO. The simple fact that your event won’t be live forever brings a fear of missing out that can’t be replicated in VOD programming. In sports, it’s missing that amazing play unfold before your eyes. You have just as much information as anyone else about what’s going to happen, and you get to share in the excitement when a player scores or makes a great save. In entertainment, it’s the feeling of connection with a celebrity when you seeing your favorite song performed or hear them address your question in a Q&A.
B2B marketers especially understand that, in the world of business, being in the know is vital. What’s more, being among the first to know gives you an edge. So, giving people the chance to view new content at the moment it’s released can be a major audience driver. If you are doing live, be in the now. Don’t give a presentation about things that everyone already knows about. Unveil something new. Give people the chance to ask questions and interact with a powerful industry leader. Make your event the type of event that would be a real shame to miss out on (once word gets out, people won’t want to miss any events you do in the future either).
2. Don’t hide your live content.
As marketers, it can be easy for us to get deep into pieces of content, and miss seeing the forest for the trees. You can produce and stream the most engaging live content ever, but if you make people dig around and search for it, they may not ever see it.
Don’t bury your embedded video in 3 or 4 links deep on your site. Create landing pages where the content is immediately displayed. Post links to the landing pages on your social media. Link them to any digital advertisements you might be invested in. Convenience can be a key to obtaining and retaining your viewers.
3. Have a distribution plan.
While content is important, it’s only really as good as the audience it draws. In this respect, distribution is the name of the game. Building audience is about putting your content in front of relevant eyes, which is only possible with the help of powerful networks. Forge partnerships with other blogs and broadcasters to carry each other’s programming. And, of course, post on your social media accounts. The goal should be to tap into as many different outlets as possible.
Create a budget so that you can market and distribute your live content to target audiences on a larger scale using distribution tools with well-developed audience networks. Find a distribution tool that is partnered with major publications. Get your content onto sites that your target audience frequents, so you can reach new people who might not know about you yet. Of course, be sure to put some thought into who your target audience might be and what kinds of sites they may frequent (it may help to ask yourself these questions before you stream).
4. Program regularly.
Having a consistent programming schedule is key. Make yourself a part of peoples’ schedules, and you will drive larger audiences and increase social interaction. Live will always be more engaging if you have a rhythm going with your audience, and you’ve put in the time to establish relationships with them.
This is especially important for enterprise companies in the tech space. In an industry that’s constantly moving forward, it’s not easy to stay relevant and at the forefront of the industry. Show your audience that you’re growing and developing along with the industry by streaming regular updates and product launches, and let them know that you value their opinion by asking for it. Address questions and concerns live.
Hubspot is a great example of a company using live content to interact with their target audience. Through Hubspot Academy, Hubspot live streams fireside chats and webinars two to three times a month. Through these “Master Class” events, Hubspot can interact with marketers through Q&As on topics like content consumption, paid advertising, automation, and viral content.
Our marketing team tunes in all the time to learn about what’s going on in the industry. And we’re definitely not alone. This regular, quality programming brings in solid, engaged audiences every time.
This is great exposure for Hubspot, as you can imagine. They get a chance to discuss the problems that their product solves while providing value to their target audience (not that the classes are about Hubspot products — they rarely are — but such is the nature of inbound marketing). They can also increase exposure by using the networks of their viewers through the hashtag #HubspotMasterClass.
5. Learn from and about your audience.
With the ease of today’s content creation, audiences are more diverse than ever. Make sure you’re collecting and paying attention to audience metrics. This will let you know whether or not your target audience is engaging with your content, and may give you some insight into which parts of your content are working and which elements aren’t.
Finally, 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.
Take your marketing to the next level by asking yourself these 5 questions.
Webinars can be a powerful tool for delivering your company’s message, educating your users and clients, and giving potential leads more information to help them learn your product. It’s no wonder so many people are integrating webinars into their marketing strategies.
Over the past couple years we’ve worked with a lot of businesses on their webinar promotion and distribution, and have come to recognize three very common challenges. If any of these things sound familiar, have no fear! You aren’t doing anything wrong, and you aren’t alone. However, you may want to consider making a few adjustments and seeking some support to get yourself over the hump.
1. Contact List Fatigue
It’s fairly common to see contact lists converting less over time. You may notice that not as many people are opening or clicking on your webinar invites, or more people are unsubscribing from your emails.
There are plenty of reasons for this. One reason could be the number of emails you’re sending. Email frequency is a huge contributor to contact list fatigue. According to SendGrid’s 2017 Global Email Benchmark Report, most industries found that 8.1 emails a month resulted in the highest open and click-through rates. This number went down since 2016 as industries found that emails performed better when they were sent with less frequency. If you’re sending more than around 8 emails a month, you might want to consider trying fewer emails for a few months and seeing if that helps your engagement rates.
You also may want to run tests to see if a different sender or subject line style performs better with your list. Mix it up! Maybe your contacts just need to see something different.
Regardless of the reason for your contact list fatigue, it’s clearly time for you to get some fresh eyes on your content. With an audience pixel , you can build a lookalike audience of people who fit the profile of your organic audience but may not know about you yet. Same interests, same goals, less fatigued and more ready to hear what you have to say.
This is all to say, there are things you can try to bring your old audience back, but it’s also important to freshen up your database with new leads. Lagging database engagement doesn’t have to impact the visibility of your webinar, so don’t let it!
2. High Bounce Rate For Registration Page
Most landing pages convert at only about 10% or below. Where does that other 90% go? They may have shown initial interest, but for whatever reason, they didn’t fill out the form to register for your webinar. In other words, they bounced.
Maybe your form was a little long and it intimidated potential guests. As a rule, it’s important to understand the value of your content in the eyes of potential registrants. Will they think it’s worth it to fill out a form that’s longer than three fields? Will they be willing to give up their phone number, or other personal information? These are important questions to ask (Hubspot has some great advice if you think your form might be a problem).
Perhaps the page took too long to load and your potential registrant gave up, or maybe it loaded and something about the page layout just didn’t sit quite right. Test out different layouts, and make sure your page isn’t taking much longer than about 2 seconds to load.
There are a number of potential culprits for a high bounce rate on a registration page, but a high bounce rate doesn’t need to reduce your audience size. If you’re pixeling your audience and using a distribution service, you can tag potential viewers and make sure your content finds them during the event. After a few minutes of watching your webinar, they’ll be more likely to convert. And even if they don’t convert this time around, your brand will get valuable attention and your content will be seen by people who have already demonstrated interest.
3. Attendance Rate Drop-Off
Around 50% of webinar registrants don’t actually attend the live event. People get busy with other projects or they forget that they’d planned to attend.
Attendance rates can be lowered by lots of factors, like requiring software downloads to access the webinar, or not setting up a system to remind people before the event begins. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have reminders set to go out the week, day, and hour before the event (sometimes it helps to remind people up as soon as five minutes before your webinar begins, but I’d always advise running tests to see how your particular audience responds to different approaches and frequencies).
Regardless of the reason for their low attendance rate, clearly your registrants are interested in the topic you plan to cover. They wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of filling out a form if they weren’t. Don’t worry about making them come to your content if they didn’t tune in. Recapture a larger percentage of your intended audience by pixeling them and then bringing your content to their favorite sites.
If any of these challenges sound familiar, just remember that you aren’t alone, and you have options. Keep on testing and learning, and make sure you have a plan or service in place to make sure you’re not losing potential leads. Good luck!
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*
Let’s be real. We know businesses, marketers, and professionals are quickly discovering the urgency in integrating live video content into their marketing strategies. While the past few years have provided a much-needed wake-up call, for people who aren’t immersed in the community, it’s tough to know where to begin.
And that’s where conferences come in. I know there are tons of events that feature live content and media in some way, but our team put together this list of some of our personal favorite live streaming conferences.
1. NAB Show (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Nab Show is a massive annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters, and despite its name, is no longer just about traditional broadcasting. The show now exists in the intersection of media, entertainment, and technology, featuring everything from radio hosts to live event broadcasting. Their live events portion definitely skews more towards technologies for the entertainment industry, and is a great place to go to learn about what kind of tech is available for your broadcasting needs.
2. Vidcon (Anaheim, California)
Vidcon is another large-scale conference dedicated to video. It was originally created by two of the most famous YouTubers, Hank and John Green of the Vlogbrothers. As you might be able to tell already, it’s highly entertainment-focused and definitely aimed more towards mainstream content creation. If you’re an influencer that uses video, I highly recommend checking out Vidcon. While they feature a pretty broad spectrum of platforms and media, you can find major live brands like Periscope and Facebook Live as well.
3. SummitLive (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas)
SummitLive is the only series of shows dedicated purely to live content. Each of their four events has a different industry focus. The San Francisco event on May 30th is dedicated to B2B marketers and enterprise tech (featuring companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Amazon), the LA event is for the entertainment industry, the New York event is for media and agencies, and the Vegas event is the “Best in Live” awards event. Each event has breakthrough keynotes, panels, workshops, speakers, solutions, and product demos in their respective industries. If you want to learn best practices in live streaming and live content, and monetization is a goal of yours, SummitLive is the conference for you. (Seriously.)
4. Streaming Media East & West (Huntington Beach, CA and New York, NY)
Streaming Media East in New York and Streaming Media West in Huntington Beach are all about the business tech of digital media. I highly recommend them to people who are interested in being technically immersed in the video space. If you know your tech and want to find new solutions, plugins, and best practices in IT, infrastructure, product, and engineering, the Streaming Media events are definitely worth checking out. They’re great for learning more about live streaming OTT, encoding, transcoding, content delivery solutions, and full of B2B tech sessions.
5. The IBC Show (Rai, Amsterdam)
The IBC Show, or IBC365, was initially a major enterprise media, entertainment, and tech conference and exhibition that eventually evolved into a community. It’s similar to Streaming Media East and West in that it’s highly technical and primarily B2B, but is more diverse in what is covered. They have everything from AI hardware to metadata in content management and live stream almost the entire event. While it’s definitely not an entry-level show, the sheer amount of information and technical papers they share online are definitely worth checking out.
6. SXSW Interactive Festival (Austin, TX)
If you know entertainment and media festivals, you know South by Southwest. Lesser known, though, is their Interactive Festival that is a hands-on-learning dream. The festival takes place in the evening and is heavy on the partying. Like Summit Live Las Vegas, has major award ceremonies throughout, like the Accelerator Awards and Interactive Innovation Awards. If you get the chance to grab one of their badges, their digital interactive section for content creation and entertainment is great and features quite a bit of live.
Every marketer knows that it’s not enough to just produce content or run an event. We can all easily answer the age-old philosophical question of the tree falling in the forest when it applies to our marketing endeavors. If there’s no one there to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound.
When it comes to live video content, this fact is particularly obvious. However, without the proper tools it can be difficult to keep track of potential audience members, content consumers, and leads. This is where tracking pixels come in.
What Is A Tracking Pixel?
Tracking pixels are tiny 1x1px images contained in snippets of code that can be added to your web pages to measure your organic traffic, track the behavior of your site visitors, and assess the overall health of your marketing campaigns. They are usually designed to be invisible and load when a user enters your site. Tracking pixels are used by most major platforms that have marketing tools. Facebook and LinkedIn offer pixels to marketers and recruiters to keep track of their ad campaigns, for example.
How Can I Use Tracking Pixels For My Live Events?
Use Tracking Pixels to Build Your Target Audience
In the context of live streaming, they can be used for audience development and then conversion through retargeting. Maybe your old contacts aren’t responding the way they used to. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to look for some fresh eyes.
When marketers come to boost their live streams through AmpLive, we always recommend that they place an audience pixel on as many pages as possible for the purpose of developing an audience for their future live event. Once the pixel is placed, it can be used to collect information about a company’s current organic audience and will allow us to find lookalike audiences within AmpLive’s network.
Using a pixel to understand your current organic audience and build a larger audience allows for a more informed distribution strategy. As you know, marketing campaigns are only as strong as the audience they attract. In other words, better audiences equal better ROI. Gather audiences of the people who are visiting your site, in addition to your target audience, to reach people who are already interested in what you have to offer. This can lead to better conversion rates.
2. Use Tracking Pixels to Capture Your Organic Audience
You may notice that your registration page is getting lots of hits, but visitors aren’t filling out the form to sign up. Use tracking pixels to make sure more of those visitors see the live stream of your event when it’s happening, or see a recording once it’s over. That way, you can capture more audience members who showed interest but maybe weren’t ready to convert just yet.
3. Learn What Converts Your Audience to Leads
Not only can pixels track site traffic, some tracking pixels can be used to keep track of actions taken on your pages. For example, the AmpLive conversion pixel allows you to track specific user actions after a user arrives on your landing page via our network. If the conversion pixel is placed on a “confirmation” or “thank you” page, you can keep track of form submissions, purchases, subscriptions, registrations, downloads, or any other indicators of conversion.
This is where you measure the real return on investment for your live stream. As you probably already know, running an A/B test can be very informative, and indicate how you could increase conversion rates for your next live event. By tracking conversions from different boosted events, you can gain valuable insight into the types of creative frames, target audiences, or types of events (keynote addresses, panels, workshops…etc) you should stream more of in the future.
As a general rule for marketers, when it comes to data, more is more. Tracking pixels are a way to gather more data to help you be the best event marketer you can be.
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.
If you’re reading this you’re likely already using live video. You know the power of the engagement it creates, and are looking for answers on how to scale your broadcast.
You’ve seen some success, you have viewers on the hook, and you’re looking to build a better funnel so you can monetize your live events, promote your brand, and get your message out to potential customers. What you’re looking to put in place is your distribution strategy. How will viewers find your content? In what way will they engage? How do I capture info so I can turn my unknown audience into known prospects?
Depending on your Online Video Provider (OVP), their advice is to make sure you promote your event. But what are the best ways to do this? This is live content. Timing is everything, so being prepared is vital. You should be using social media, email, paid media, and any other means to let people know about your event.
After helping major companies drive over 200 million live stream viewers, here are the top 3 live event distribution strategies we suggest:
1. Use Social Media
The first thing to know is who are you targeting and what social platform that they are spending their time on. If you’re going after a millennial audience for your live broadcast, it’s probably not worth your time to only distribute to Facebook or Twitter. Try Snapchat. Or if you’re going after crafters, promoting your event on Snapchat is less effective than using a forum like Pinterest. Whichever social platform, make sure that you have a strong call to action to tune in live.
Pro Tip: Know what platform your intended audience is on and spend 80% of your time there. That way, you can get to know them and don’t waste too much time, energy, or money on the wrong platforms.
2. Use Your Email List
Email is still one of the strongest forms of communication — especially when you’re trying to reach professionals. Driving pre-registration for your event is a key factor in how well your event will do. You will most likely only see about 30% of those sign-ups actually show up for your event). Getting someone to commit their time upfront is golden and should be one part of your overall distribution strategy.
Pro Tip: Start building your email list early. It’s slow to grow, but it’s something you can reuse over and over again. Remember to segment to make your list relevant to each event.
3. Use Paid Media
Paid media is a powerful tool in scaling your live event, it’s how you’re going to expose net new audiences to your event. Understanding when to trigger this strategy is key. You have to have a clear picture of who your target audience is, what gets them to engage with your content, and how they interact with your live events. Along with paid media, it’s important to pick a partner that can deliver when you’re live. Make sure they have retargeting capabilities and can segment your audiences so you can continue to have light touch points that are personalized.
Pro Tip: Create ad sequences that are engaging and personalized to each user.