Live streaming isn’t just having a moment – it’s reshaping marketing as we know it.
Accelerated by the pandemic, live streaming capabilities and viewership have boomed: analytics firm App Annie estimates consumers around the world will have spent 548 billion hours live streaming in top social apps last year.
And this means big business for brands.
In the first half of 2021, $3 of every $4 spent in the top 25 social apps were in apps that offered live streams.
Fans as collaborators
Live streaming, then, is an enticing option for businesses of every size.
But if they want to stand out in this new era of live, they need to shift the way they see the streamer-audience dynamic. Brands need to stop seeing audiences as passive absorbers of content and start seeing them as co-hosts and collaborators who can broadcast their message to new audiences.
It’s fans’ own networks that are the greatest asset to marketers in live streaming. If brands use live streaming technology that gives super-fans the ability to share their experiences with their own followers, they instantly, exponentially increase their reach and access new audiences. It’s an organic, authentic way to introduce themselves to new consumers that overrides the emotional wall that can often arise with paid content. Plus, many fans’ friends are likely to share similar interests, traits and social circles so this sharing method is self-targeting and means your content has the best chance of meeting the most receptive consumers.
Multi-streaming and carefully chosen co-hosts
Brands can take this network partnership still further. Now technology is available that allows for simultaneous, multiple streaming and companies can turn to carefully selected streamers, influencers and superfans to also share their content.
Implementing such a strategy, gives brands and rights holders the ability to reach and acquire new audiences and selectively target the unique and distinct audiences that these influencers and superfans have built. Bringing fans into this process not only helps to amplify reach but can also help foster greater loyalty by making co-hosts feel intimately involved with and part of the brand.
Such a partnership is incredibly lucrative for both sides. Content creators can broaden their scope of work, by curating as well as creating content. The content they stream on behalf of brands can be customised so co-hosts get unique content that aligns with their audiences preferences. Additionally, they can potentially receive direct rewards from brands – for instance, co-hosts may be rewarded with bonuses for successful streams. And brands, again, get to drive organic engagement and build authentic relationships with viewers who are primed to enjoy their content and trust their offering due to their co-host connection. Creators on platforms such as YouTube or Instagram also have far greater understanding of their audience than say traditional or linear broadcasters with far ranging insight into demographics, brand affiliation and location, presenting brands a unique opportunity to ensure their message reaches the right people at the right time.
Personalisation makes good content great
Personalisation is at the heart of truly successful streaming. Traditional live streaming operates on a ‘one-to-mass’ approach which focuses on broadcasting the same content to as many people as possible, but brands miss out on so much if they let their viewers get lost in the crowd.
An audience isn’t homogenous, and neither should a stream be. Content should be tailored to take into account the distinct and different groups that make up a viewing audience. Smart brands will even empower viewers in each demographic by compartmentalising live streamed events. This means viewers are able to shape their own live streamed experience and choose to follow a prescribed event path or head off and create their own, unique journey.
The power of personalisation not only drives engagement but in conjunction with a carefully designed co-host strategy can amplify the reach of a stream or show. Customising streams allows brands to reach a truly global audience but in ways that are relevant to local markets. Supporting Oracle Red Bull Racing’s new car launch ahead of the 2022 F1 season, we used fan channels to create this effect,simultaneously streaming on over 6,000 separate channels and in four separate languages, reaching a live audience of over 5million people, as we set new landmarks in livestreaming. This unique approach to provide personalised, relevant content but on a huge scale delivers brands t the best of both worlds, huge reach, and genuine engagement.
And consumers will reward brands that utilise this approach. Personalisation can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can lift sales by 10% or more; in video, personalisation brings a 166% uplift in conversion.
Previously, the financial and resource cost of such personalisation may have been too great for brands to consider but now tools and services are emerging that are removing this barrier and making customised live streams more accessible.
If brands want to make the most of the opportunities offered by live streaming, they need to understand the power of fan networks. Fans aren’t walking wallets – they’re a diverse, discerning audience who have the ability to make brands’ content go further than they could imagine. When brands start seeing fans as collaborators is when live streaming will really lift off.