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:
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 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’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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.