In recent years, there’s been a rise in the popularity and usage of video live streaming apps like Periscope. So much so that social media giants such as Facebook is now stepping up their game to accommodate this type of content. Is this a trend that’s bound to be staple in future digital marketing strategies? Or should this video tactic be reserved for famed personalities and big brands?

Live Streaming vs. Regular Videos: Overview

  • Social Media and Video Live Streaming
  • Pros and Cons of Video Live Streaming vs. Traditional Videos
  • Questions That Businesses Should Consider
  • The Future of Video Content

Social Media and Video Live Streaming

According to a survey by Brandlive, 44 percent of businesses have already tried video live streaming in the past 12 months, and 20 percent are planning to get in the action in the months ahead. There’s no doubt that video content will be a key trend this year (and perhaps beyond), but it seems that simply publishing videos is not enough.

live streaming video

Video live streaming is nothing new; but it reached its peak thanks to the wide availability of smart devices, along with their integration to widely-used social media platforms. Apps like Meerkat for instance, saw a growth in usage in 2015. Along with Meerkat came Periscope, which Twitter acquired to help boost the site’s engagement with users. This live-streaming platform, now directly incorporated on Twitter, is changing the way businesses and people share stories.

2015 was also the year when social media giant Facebook launched a video live streaming feature exclusive for celebrities. They slowly rolled it out to select users, until it finally became available to all verified Facebook pages. But this year, Facebook announced on their official company blog post, that their algorithm will now prioritise live streaming videos (as they happen) over regular ones. If successful, this could rival current live streaming services by similar apps and other social media websites.

Instagram on the other hand, revealed a somewhat comparable (albeit highly different) feature in December 2015. The visual-oriented app offered video collections, which are curated content (like images and videos) created by Instagram users that used a particular hashtag for the event. The feature is great for discovering new and exciting content - however, the videos are NOT live.

Even with all the competition though, YouTube remains the leader in video content. In March 2015, the video hosting platform re-launched its live streaming feature, with a renewed focus on e-sports and gaming. And it's reported that the site is developing an app to rival Periscope. However, they still have some kinks to iron out before they could rival gaming community app, Twitch. In a recent report, the app stated that the average Twitch user watches about 2 hours more of video each month than its YouTube counterpart.

But some businesses are thankful for the video-hosting service. GoPro. Although their video content isn’t live, it was still able to garner viewer engagement thanks to YouTube’s huge audience share.

Pros and Cons: Video Live Streaming vs. VOD

Live streaming and regular videos are not that far from each other. However, when leveraging one from the other for business purposes, you want to make sure you’re making the right choice.

Pros of Video Live Streaming

• Exclusive content. Although live streaming services (like Periscope on Twitter) allow users to save their broadcasts for later, people can choose NOT to show their content again. This exclusivity can help you earn more viewers due to the feeling of urgency you create.

• Real-time experience. People want to become part of stories as they happen. This is the biggest reason why video live streaming apps are a sensation today. Nothing is better than seeing your favorite star or brand showcase something right at the moment.

• Inside peek. Unlike years before, you can now become part of someone’s life instantly with a simple click. Stars can stream events like photo shoots, red carpet moments, and vacations. Businesses on the other hand, can give a sneak peek at their company culture, production, and operations.

Cons of Video Live Streaming

• Technical issues. This is one of the biggest drawbacks when using video live streaming as a digital marketing tactic. You want to ensure your viewers are not going to experience latency or performance problems while the streaming is going on.

• Content concerns. What kind of broadcast are you going to do? How is this related to your business goals? Is this going to be helpful or entertaining to your audience? Or will you simply be jumping on the bandwagon?

• Budget/Staffing. Who’s going to do the broadcast? Are they qualified enough? Are you going to spend money on video live streaming? If so, how much?

9 Live Streaming Questions to Consider

Streaming live videos to your customers may sound like fun – until you realize how much is at stake. Before implementing this strategy, the first thing businesses should do is review their objectives to ensure this tactic would be in line with what they want to achieve. Here are several questions to consider before adding video live streaming into your digital marketing campaign:

  1. What are you trying to achieve with video live streaming? How is this connected to your business goals?
  2. Who are your target audiences? What sort of videos do they watch? On which platforms are they active in?
  3. Are you going to stream videos yourself, OR use a dedicated in-house team?
  4. Will your broadcasts use a budget? If so, how much?
  5. Where will you host your content (mobile app, social media, blog)? Will you save it for later curation?
  6. What sort of broadcasts will you create (company culture, behind-the-operations, how-to’s, etc.)?
  7. What are your metrics for a successful live streaming campaign? Who will analyze the results?
  8. How long do you plan to run the campaign?
  9. If your live streaming strategy fails, what’s next?

Remember: live streaming videos can be challenging, not to mention flighty. One minute, the crowd’s crazy about it – the next, they’re not. It’s important to have a backup plan in case things don’t work out the way you want them to.

The Future of Video Content

How else are you going to top the immersive experience of live video streaming? Video content leader YouTube seems to have the answer: 360-degree videos. The site is now supporting the feature, and with the help of some special equipment you can upload a video to give viewers that 360-degree experience. They just need to use the controller on the top left-hand side of the video screen to rotate through the content, or simply use their cursors to control how you see the video. Imagine seeing all sides of a rocket launch, a concert, or the ocean.

youtube 360 video

The trend already began when Red Hot Chili Peppers released an interactive music video in 2012. But unlike the previous version, YouTube’s feature has more depth and a real immersive feeling to it.

Although this feature is only available for uploaded videos now, there might come a time when it might be accessible for live streaming as well (without the user having to spin around to get that panoramic shot). Now that is a feature worth waiting for.