Social Media Surprises dominated 2016 with most of the social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. rolling out new features. And 2017, will see the explosion of live video streaming which saw its emergence last year.
Although pre-recorded video marketing will be in every marketer’s handbook, brands will increasingly use real-time videos to engage with their target audiences.
What exactly is a live video? They are videos captured on tablets, smartphones or cameras and streamed real time to the internet, for viewing on the web. Facebook is the one who brought live video into the mainstream by starting Facebook Live. This feature streams video captured using the Facebook mobile app to users in real time just by clicking the Live stream icon. A brand can use this feature to send announcements, seminars, interviews and the followers are then able to engage with the video content and brand.
As per Forrester research, live video receives three times the amount of engagement as compared to a pre-recorded video, as it is immediate, unedited and more authentic than ‘rehearsed’ content. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic also highlights that by 2020, nearly 75% of the global mobile traffic will be because of the video led content. These changes in consumer behavior and how people are consuming content online have pushed brands today to accept video marketing as a powerful tool to push their message forward in the digital landscape.
The major differentiation of Instagram Live from Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live and Snapchat, which self-destruct in 24 hours is that Instagram Live is instantaneous and cannot be saved. Instagram Stories is more comparable to Facebook Live and Twitter Periscope in terms of features and the capacity of the user to save and use them at a later date.
Instagram Live videos also allows one to broadcast videos such as a brand launch, celebrity party, tutorials, etc. in real time, but the key difference here is that followers can only watch it while it is being streamed because Instagram believes that their app is about moments rather than replays and this essentially compels people to watch it straight away because of the sense of urgency it creates.
Video Marketing seems to be the talk of the town. As per emarketer.com, digital video ad spending will rise from $9.90 billion in 2016 to $28.08 billion in 2020, which will make this channel the fastest growing channel in marketing. And we can see that possibly happening because people are hooked on social media almost 70-80% of the day and are becoming more comfortable with videos.
To conform to the trend the biggest digital video platform “Youtube” lately announced its new release that it is rolling out live video to people with 10,000 or more subscribers. They have even confirmed that gradually the live video feature will be available for everyone as well.
With Facebook we might see new updates very soon, as the brand says Live is just the beginning, and I am sure they have few more tricks up their sleeve, as in one of the posts they had mentioned hints around testing a dedicated video news feed on select mobile devices, for people who want to engage with videos more on the app.
The Live Video trend helps brands and content creators in a number of ways. Once the brand can understand the kind of videos that are acceptable, they can do a better job of creating targeted and relevant content to engage the user further. The consumer also gets the benefit of hearing the latest announcements; launches etc. immediately and perhaps would be even able to take an immediate action like buy now, engage directly with influencers or brand.
With Instagram’s shoppable tags experiment currently on, I wouldn’t be surprised to see shop now live videos sometime in the future.
For a brand to really harness the new medium properly the best route is to draw out their digital strategy and budgets carefully, but always have the drive to experiment and be innovative at the same time. The most important element will be to create seamless experience and story across all channels without losing the brand essence and being able to provide user with a single brand message across all the channels.
Some Tips for Marketers to Engage with Customers using Live Videos
Live Videos is a platform that needs a cohesive approach from any marketing department bringing the social media, digital and PR team together. I think it is worth investing in an agile approach and an in-house support to help generate good quality videos for this publishing method.
- Calander schedule your videos: Do it often and on a predictable frequency so the user can engage with you and you can form a constant flow of engagement, for consumer lifestyle brands publishing live video every day could be useful, whereas for B2B brands it could be a good approach to share key events or product update announcement to customers.
- SEO benefits: Video marketing also has SEO benefits which sometimes can get overlooked. Most of the Live Videos can be downloaded and uploaded to YouTube other than the Instagram Live which brings in more searches for later on. With the busy lifestyle of current generation living in metros, most of us are in the habit of consuming video content through a digital platform like YouTube.
- Lead Generation: The best analogy I can think of for Video marketing is that it is no different to what email marketing looks like to today in digital world, where we primarily do two things i.e. grow our email database and nurture the existing contacts to get through the buying cycle. To break it down further I would think of Periscope, and YouTube Live as a tool that can enable you to grow the list i.e. Penetrate more people as the Periscope broadcast is posted live on Twitter and YouTube Live on its channel. Facebook Live and Instagram Live nurtures your existing contacts as it notifies people instantaneously when the broadcast starts if they are already following you.
Some companies are a step ahead and have already invested in video production infrastructure and the ones who are not thinking of this channel today in their marketing plan for 2017, will in long term lose the strategic advantage of being an early adopter of this social media marketing trend.
Measurement is Key
Don’t forget just like any other digital marketing channel, Return on Investment and Key performance indicators will be an important measure for you to fully show the impact this new channel is making on the business. Before jumping on the bandwagon of live video and video-based marketing, the key will be to assess the platforms and decide what success looks like for you and define the metrics that you will be using to measure success for this new marketing channel.
This is the time one can experiment and be creative with live video features, as it is a low-cost approach to video production. Live video is here to stay and would play a major part in a brand’s success.
Be ready to let go and have fun; streaming video is a powerful tool in any marketing toolbox so do make sure to try this out in 2017 and have some fun with it as well, as Video streaming is all about being authentic, engaging with the audience and having fun at the same time.