Live streaming has been around since 2001 when BT began to roll out the first broadband servers. It went through a phase of some popularity a few years back (live streaming from exhibition stands, factory opening ceremonies etc.) but today, for a number of reasons, it’s popularity is questionable and its use in B2B is seriously suspect.
You might think it a good idea to stream a presentation to workers and colleagues around the country or around the world as it is happening, or to stream a VIP visit to other sites. Great ideas but fraught with potential problems.
Aside from the technical aspects (of which more later), the first question to be answered is why would you want to live stream video in the first place. Unless you want a truly live experience for your customers, and you can be sure that they will all be watching live at the same time (btw…when might that be in their busy day?) where is the return on investment?
It is my view that most people are too busy to stop what they’re doing to tune in to your ‘broadcast’ (or narrowcast as I call it) and even if they sign up for it (through your carefully orchestrated email campaign) you can never be sure that they are watching.
I recently heard of a local council who were so taken with the idea of streaming their presentation live that they did indeed orchestrate an email campaign to encourage viewers and as a result found that on the day of the event not only were numbers of actual attendees significantly down (everyone was watching the live stream weren’t they) but technical problems meant that the outgoing connection was lost at the start of the presentation leaving them high and dry. (NB: this didn’t stop several people claiming that the saw the presentation on their work pc and enjoyed it). Yes I know that is not a B2B scenario but you get the point.
So much for the audience. But, for the purpose of balance, let’s assume that the audience are at their pc (or mobile device) at the allotted time and watching and the connection is good and they have sound on their pc and headphones connected and their company firewall has been tweaked to allow streaming video (few are) and their calls are diverted for the duration and incoming email is temporarily disabled…assuming all that… what are you going to show them that is so important it must be live? Very little that I can think of.
Why not simply record the event as usual, editing as you go, upload the video as soon as the event finishes and send the link to everyone with a report on how wonderful it all was?
Much safer and there for all time to be watched at home, on a mobile device as and when time allows.
Hey, I’m just trying to save you money. Record and upload will cost you £600, a reliable live stream will cost many times more.
That said, there is a new device on the market which is not expensive and proving very reliable and thus promising to bring the cost of live streaming down. Rumour has it that it will even work on 360 degree cameras which means that the viewer will be able to look to either side and behind the camera during the actual event. Now that could be a game changer. Watch this space.
Live Streaming Checklist
Here are several questions to consider before adding live streaming into your digital marketing campaign:
- What are you trying to achieve with video live streaming? How is this connected to your business goals?
- Who are your target audiences? What sort of videos do they watch? Which device(s) do they use?
- Are you going to stream videos yourself, or use an independant production company?
- How much are you prepared to invest in the success of the project?
- Where will you host your content (mobile app, social media, blog)? Will you upload it after the event?
- What sort of broadcasts will you create (company culture, behind-the-operations, how-to’s, etc.)?
- What are your metrics for a successful live streaming campaign? Who will analyze the results?
- How long do you plan to run the campaign?
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