Of all the primary mediums for communication, live video must be considered one of the most engaging, if not themost. In 2016 Facebook found that users watched live video content three times longer than pre-recorded video. Images can be eye-catching, videos can be interesting and text can be compelling, but none of this media can facilitate the type of engagement generated by live streams. The interactivity of live video understandably strengthens the relationship between a brand and its followers.
So what do you need to consider before in ‘going live’
What’s in it for Me?
Social media platforms are also making it easier than ever to take advantage of the live video trend; Facebook’s release of the live feature to all users enabled all brands to use the technology.
The beauty of hosting live streams on social media platforms like Facebook is the opportunity to grow audiences for not only live video but your page in general. An important element in engaging an audience comes from giving viewers the ability to affect the content of a live video and a sense of being part of the event, due to features such as polling, Q&As and other interactivity.
By engaging a core audience who already like your page or have asked to be notified about a stream going live you can use interactivity to help alert other users about live video content, something we call attracting the ‘soft audience’. This demographic is made up of individuals who become more interested in content if their ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ have reacted to it.
There is also a unique tendency for content on social media to seem more transparent and authentic than an advertisement on television or in print. As a result, content is perceived as less of a marketing ploy and more a fair exchange of time.
For example this brand is allowing me to interact with an experience or people I will never meet in real life therefore it is worth my time.
Live streams are even capable of growing an audience even when they stop being live.
Last year, the most watched Facebook live video was ‘Chewbacca Mom’ which was watched a whopping 170 million times live and on replay.
Getting it Right
Almost any type of live video works for brands, which is why it is so attractive to marketers, as long as the content fits into one of these categories:
An announcement which is so important to the core audience that they need to see it live, for example a product launch.
Something in sync with broadcast TV such as a live stream that adds value and interactivity to a broadcast programme or advert
And the most popular and useful live which is one that allows the viewer access to a place, person or experience that they wouldn’t normally have access to.
This could be the ability to go back stage at a big event, ask an expert a question or effect the outcome of a live video
Timing. Important to consider, especially for global brands with fans in different time zones. For regular live streams, consistency is sometimes best.
Benefit, the well-known makeup brand, hosts a live video every Thursday at 4pm UK time as part of its Tipsy Tricks series.
Length. The time range seems flexible but live videos between 20-45 minutes work best, any longer and audiences tend to lose interest and although total viewership may grow average viewing times will fall. Take HBO’s recent live streamto reveal the premiere date of the latest series of Game of Thrones; fans were left irritated by the lack of action as a block of ice containing the date refused to melt after over an hour.
The Value of Live
Technology is steadily advancing and social media sites are fully capable of hosting live video for large audiences numbering in the millions, so it is increasingly feasible to produce live content at cost effective prices., live video is already a necessary tool in most marketing strategies.