Why Now Is the Time to Try Live-Streaming Video



Online video was once considered the frosting atop a brand’s digital marketing plan. Sure, it was nice to have that little “play” arrow pop up in your social media, but text and photography were the reigning kings of content. 

No longer. Video’s sky-high (and growing) conversion rates have transformed the medium from an afterthought to a bull’s-eye for brands. 

According to a study from marketing firm Hyperfine Media, 64 percent of users say they are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. Ninety percent say product videos are helpful in decision-making. And including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent.

Live-streaming video (also called real-time video) shot and shared on apps such as Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, and Blab is at the cutting edge of this video revolution. 

The unpolished, longer-form videos typical of live streams connect with audiences on intimate, highly engaging levels. A live broadcast creates a sense of urgency and excitement that photos and text—and even non-live video—can’t replicate.

“Live streaming gives fans real-time access to brands and companies, creating more transparency and authentic engagement,” says Dioni Wise, a digital content specialist at content marketing firm Pace. “If you’re doing it well, you could reach a very large audience.” 

That’s why big brands such as Frito-Lay, Red Bull, and General Electric have embraced live streaming, and use real-time video apps to showcase special events and behind-the-scenes action. (GE recently got creative by equipping drones with cameras to live-stream aerial tours of its remote, picturesque facilities on Periscope for #droneweek.)

If you’re still questioning whether real-time video would work for your business, consider the following:

Streaming Video Is Dirt Cheap

Producing slick video with pro-quality equipment is expensive. Capturing and posting a live performance or Q&A session on your iPhone is not. All you need to become a live-streaming content producer is a smartphone with a decent camera and—if you’re worried about sound quality—a microphone. Streaming video has leveled the playing field when it comes to video marketing, because small and large businesses are essentially creating content with the same tools. And among those tools, raw creativity (which is as free as the wind) is the most valuable. 

Small-Scope Content Can Make a Big Impression

You don’t have to launch a drone to create content that’s meaningful to your customers. You could broadcast a real-time demo of luxury watches, or a live how-to session on the best ways to sell unwanted gold jewelry. Consider what kind of videos would be useful to (and delight) your clients. Not sure? Ask them what they’d be excited to tune in to. 

You Don’t Have to Be Perfect

“The future of streaming video success belongs to leaders that embrace conversation, being human, and letting go,” content marketing expert Kathy Klotz-Guest writes on ConvinceandConvert.com. That means forgetting about “perfect” camera angles. The grainy imperfections so intrinsic to streaming video are what lend the medium its unique intimacy. “Letting go” means presenting your audience with opportunities to engage with your company in refreshingly casual and candid ways—in the moment and beyond. 

(@B.rose/twenty20)