By Steve Munachen, Global Head of Marketing, PUSH LIVE
Live streamed content has come into a world of its own thanks to the global lockdown. What was once a medium traditionally associated with early adopters, is now being embraced by new, broader demographics.
At the same time, marketers are realising live streaming’s potential. Research from MediaKix, revealed 63% of marketers plan on expanding their use of live video in campaigns this year, so we can expect to see this cohort seeking fresh and intelligent ways to engage their target demographics and connect with their audiences in-the-moment using this format. However, a large proportion of brands have not attempted live streaming before. As a result, they have a limited understanding of how to make a real impact and are relying on old ideas that won’t fit with this new medium. Those that do approach it correctly will have the capability to tap into vast, engaged audiences and grow communities around the live moment, all without breaking the bank.
As streaming takes off, there are five key ways for brands to make the most of this technology in 2021:
Customisation of content is critical
Traditional ‘live’ broadcast models, built around exclusivity, are losing their popularity and linear content distribution models are on the way out. Instead, audiences want to choose their favourite channels and platforms through which they view content. They are also desperate for tailored content that can be consumed when and how they want to, with the means to share it within their community online.
It’s also important to consider the nuances between streaming platforms. While Twitch’s users are predominantly male, making up 81.5% of its userbase, for YouTube it is more evenly split with 38% female users. With platforms’ audiences being incredibly different, the same piece of content should be tailored to suit each one accordingly. This customisation of content across target channels is fundamental to maximising the impact of the live moment.
Distribution deals get a shake-up
Expensive partnership deals have long been the status quo. With live streaming, brands can take control of content formerly owned by large media organisations and examine new distribution deals to ‘become the entertainment’. Where the audience figures for TV networks have dropped off a cliff, brands need a new way to maximise their reach and keep building their audience. From sport to music, brands have the opportunity to create a new model and take ownership using by leveraging streaming. There is no reason why Guinness cannot create a distribution model for the Six Nations or Coca-Cola for the Olympics.
Marketing in real-time becomes reality
Live content can trigger an emotional reaction. With Iterable research finding that 83% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that they have an emotional connection with, brands know this is something they should leverage. To do so, organisations need to analyse the emotions of the live audience and use that data to curate an intelligent marketing message to align their brand or product to an appropriate feeling – to spark an instant response.
Data can be collected using intelligent live streaming platforms to show what the live audience is feeling, anticipate their behaviour and then display a personalised piece of advertising based on an individual’s location, language, age, gender and live chat characteristics. By connecting instantly with audiences on an emotional level, brands can boost sales and generate business growth.
Democratisation of content
Millions of online communities have sprung up across social media, each with their own quirks. Some of these channel owners have enormous, engaged audiences, which marketers are desperate to tap into. But channel owners won’t simply grant brands access to those viewers. They have grown these communities through hard work and any sign of ‘selling-out’ will trigger a response. For marketers to get around this, they need to part ways with their live content – giving it to others to manipulate, curate and customise. While this is a scary thought for many brands and marketers, if they harness the power of co-hosting technology to produce a live moment and then provide it to others for free, there is an opportunity to create a stronger connection with an audience.
Subscription preferences evolve
Although digital streaming subscriptions have grown in popularity, they are founded on traditional content models distributed via new digital platforms. Meanwhile, live streamed content has evolved to a place where paywalls are a rarity, and pre-prescribed catalogues do not feature. Rather, it provides in-the-moment collective entertainment, where content can be shared and instantly accessed, all through free platforms including YouTube and Twitch. Consumers will soon wake up to the benefits of these platforms and streaming will become even more popular.
As the digital streaming subscriptions edge closer to saturation point, increasing prices is the only way to guarantee the growth of these models. With the changing attitude towards ‘cable TV’ companies, we are already seeing a shift. Over the next ten years, live streaming and democratised content will overtake other mediums. If brands don’t jump on the ‘live’ bandwagon now they will get left behind.