Over the last few years there have been massive shifts in the way younger generations are consuming content. One of those shifts: Consumers are viewing as much as 5 hours and 31 minutes of video every day, with viewing on digital devices accounting for 4 hours and 15 seconds—and that’s only adults. And as audiences consume more and more content, they’re beginning to demand that it be produced faster.
One solution to rising demand has been live content. First came the rise of the browser sites like Livestream and Ustream. Next came the evolution of mobile broadcasting; apps like Meerkat and Periscope made it simple for any Jane or Joe to go live from wherever they were, whenever they wanted.
What we’re seeing now is the emergence of what I like to call “Corporate Live,” where major brands and publishers are utilizing platforms like Facebook Live or Stre.am to get their content delivered in a live-first, yet controlled and for-profit way. We’re seeing this happen in spades with Facebook, where the platform is actually paying publishers for live content. We’re also seeing it with NFL franchises, which are utilizing the tech built by Stre.am to power unique fan experiences in-stadium.
If you’re a brand executive, it’s easy to imagine your head spinning over the possibilities and the challenges of live. There’s been a lot of debate regarding live broadcasting and its space in the social ecosystem.
Can we make something exciting and compelling without postproduction? Do people care that this is happening right now?
The long and short of it is: Yes, you can. And yes, they do (or they will).
Consumers want content immediately, and they love the authenticity that comes from a risky first-run shot or idea. Live can be a chance to experiment. It’s an opportunity for you to pull back the curtains and show people the fun behind your brand, and the love that goes into it.
When gen Y/Zers see brands doing things they believe in, and things they’ve never seen before, they fall in love—especially if they can catch something they may never see again.
Live affords you the opportunity to not only get feedback from your audience but also inspiration, on the fly. A good strategy is creating content that’s easily customizable, asking your audience questions and shaping it to their will. Whether it’s the color scheme of the lights or the music that’s playing in your store, that engagement makes an impact. If you use this feedback to influence your products, you will create an incredible bond between your brand and your consumers, and likely a better product.
This audience also shares what they love. Explore.org, a live-first nature nonprofit with live animal cams stationed all over the world, has the most engaged community I’ve ever encountered. And it’s all focused on watching animals living their lives in the wild. (Full disclosure: The company I work for is an Explore partner.) This community has taken over one million snapshots from live streams, sharing them on every platform the Internet has to offer. There is no better way to push a message out than to have thousands of evangelists saying your message for you.
It’s important to remember that not everything should stay live-only. One saying I love is “Live doesn’t live”; essentially, no matter how great the content you produce, a single-run “miss it and it’s gone”-type video probably isn’t going to make or break your brand. Those who catch something amazing will make noise about it, but you’ll probably want to reach more than just those tuned in right then.
In order to make the greatest impact online, you’re going to strive for “virality,” which currently doesn’t work well with live. Until we’re able to notify all potential consumers instantly that something great is about to happen, there will be missed opportunities.
But that doesn’t mean your experiments won’t be rewarding. When you’re done, save the file, edit as you like and throw it on YouTube. Create a buzz in the moment and then ride that content wave into the sunset.
About the Author
Jon Cappetta is a brand strategist and marketer from Syosset, New York, currently based in Los Angeles. He is the entertainment specialist for Fabric Media, a consortium of creative individuals rallied around innovative companies and ideas. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.