It’s not news to anyone that video will be the medium of choice in the future. YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat all get billions of views a day, and that rate shows no sign of slowing down. Over half of mobile data is used to watch videos, especially among millennials. And video has proven itself as a salient channel for advertising: video ads have a significantly higher average CTR than any other digital format and the fastest revenue growth rate.
What’s different now are the new apps that capitalize on these trends. Enter the likes of Meerkat, Periscope, Snapchat Live Stories, Facebook Live and Kanvas. These platforms share the virtue of instantaneity: they allow for live and near real-time video streaming that connects users across the globe.
Counterculture to the filtered lenses of Facebook and Instagram, live videos offer an aspect of reality that lends itself to authenticity. Through this avenue, celebrities and brands alike can offer slices of life that echo user-generated content.
The live video trend reflects the changing dynamics of consumer-brand relationships. Instead of the top-down information funnel of years past, a growing cohort of conscientious consumers expects responsive brands and transparency in their interactions. The spontaneity of live videos conveys the message that brands are approachable and personable, qualities that are significant now that brand loyalty is at an all-time low.
On the other hand, one of the most powerful things a brand can offer its audience is an exclusive experience that would otherwise be impossible. People watch videos to be transported to previously inaccessible destinations. Live videos create an easy way for brands to broadcast special moments to a wide audience. And because of their ephemeral nature, they create a sense of urgency and excitement that activates FOMO and gets viewers hooked.
The brands that successfully use the strengths of live video are the ones that balance both personality and exclusivity. Here are a few applications that achieve that balance:
Events are ideal for live-streaming. Brands can give viewers an exclusive look at high-profile, limited-access events related to their products from their own unique perspective. The streaming doesn’t have to be cable quality. If it’s real, it’s relatable.
Behind the scenes
Companies can also deliver on exclusivity simply by inviting consumers into their offices. People are always intrigued by the faces behind the product and the processes that go into creating it. This is also a great way to showcase a company’s culture and lifestyle.
Many of these live video platforms have a chat functionality in which users can interact with broadcasters, rendering them conducive to question and answer forums. This can be a way for higher-ups in the company or influencers affiliated with a brand to interact with their audience. Though these kinds of interactions may open up the floodgates for criticism, consumers appreciate the openness and honesty of companies that put themselves out there.
Unboxing videos and user-created demos are already all over the web. Users appreciate learning the most optimal ways to use their products. Who better to demonstrate that than the creators of the products themselves?
One way to increase the urgency for these already short-lived moments is to tease promo offers in the livestream. It’s an easy way to increase viewership and extend the amount of time people keep watching your videos. It’s also a direct path for these videos to lead to conversions.
If you want to attract and maintain a captive audience, live video can help you get there. But remember: just because you’re sacrificing the opportunity to map out every aspect of your message doesn’t mean you should leave the result completely up to chance. Take the the time beforehand to plan out your approach, with ample room to improvise.