Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope.
All the major social platforms are integrating live streaming in some form.
Several up-and-comers, like Meerkat and MeVee, are also creating buzz.
And this all means one thing: Live video is hot. Scorching hot.
It seems everyone is now using live video in some fashion to connect and interact with their audience in real time.
I’ve noticed a good chunk of the YouTube channels I’ve been subscribed to for years are now taking it live.
It’s definitely catching on.
But does using live video make sense for you?
Is it a viable means of making more money?
In this post, I’m going to take a close look at the state of live video, how people are using it and what kind of results they’re getting.
I’m also going to look at the benefits as well as the drawbacks that might not be very obvious.
By the end, you should have a pretty good idea whether or not you should add live video to your sales and marketing repertoire.
First, let’s see what the live video market looks like at the moment.
Of course, video in general is booming.
According to eMarketers.com, “digital-video ad spending will rise from $9.9 billion in 2016 to $20.08 billion in 2020.”
More than doubling over the course of five short years is pretty dramatic.
But live video is what’s really blowing up.
Socialbakers found that “half of all big media pages publish live video.”
And the number of videos is growing.
I can only imagine what the numbers will be like once 2020 rolls around.
Another interesting thing I’d like to point out is the engagement level that comes along with live video.
In fact, live video blows pre-recorded video out of the water.
Forrester reports that “live video gets three times the amount of engagement as non-live video.”
And it’s easy to see why.
There’s a certain buzz that comes along with watching a video in real time.
There’s a connection that isn’t there otherwise.
Not to mention that viewers can directly interact with the person recording the video via live chat.
It’s pretty cool and shows just how far video has come in a relatively short period of time.
Remember when simply watching videos on YouTube was cutting-edge and really big deal?
Live video has built upon the original concept and made it far more interactive.
How live video is changing content marketing
It’s safe to say that content marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
And that’s fine by me.
Content marketing and inbound marketing in general have been a breath of fresh air in a world where conventional advertising mediums have become stale and quite obnoxious.
But the way I look at it, live video is poised to shake up content marketing.
Massive social networks, like Facebook and YouTube, could become a new form of TV big-name companies funnel more and more money into.
The traditional text-based blogging format could change as well.
Rather than always writing regular blog posts, people might start sprinkling in live videos here and there.
As you can see, there are some far-reaching implications.
The benefits of live video
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
How can live video benefit you?
If you’re putting in the time and energy, it’d better be worth your time.
The way I see it, there are some huge advantages.
It helps your audience get to know you
For starters, it allows your audience to get to know you on an incredibly deep level that’s simply not possible with any other medium.
Just think about it.
A live video combined with a real-time comment/Q&A session is arguably the most effective way to inject your true personality into your content.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger uses live video fairly frequently to answer questions and connect with his viewers.
It adds a whole other dimension to his overall content.
And, in my opinion, it makes him more personable and relatable.
You feel like you know the guy.
Next, there’s the increased engagement.
If you’ve been blogging, active on social media, copywriting, etc. for any length of time, you know just how important engagement is.
And by all accounts, live video is a natural catalyst for boosting engagement.
As I mentioned earlier, live video gets triple the engagement of pre-recorded video.
More specifically, “streaming videos on Facebook are viewed at much higher durations (3x) than non-live content.”
And here’s the kicker.
Facebook’s per-video engagement rate is a whopping 6.3%!
That may not seem like a lot at first glance.
But keep in mind the normal engagement rate for many industries on Facebook is less than 0.15%.
That’s a massive difference!
The brilliant thing about live video is that it naturally begs for engagement.
It’s basically like sitting down and having a face-to-face conversation with your audience.
They can ask questions, leave comments and really get to know you.
Increased engagement naturally comes with the territory.
Extend your reach
Live video is just about everywhere these days.
Scroll through your Facebook feed, it’s there.
In fact, “Facebook videos have increased 360% across everyone’s news feeds.”
Check out what your favorite YouTubers have been up to, and odds are someone is recording a live video.
Getting in on the action is virtually guaranteed to help you extend your overall reach.
It allows you to reach a larger percentage of your demographic that may have been inaccessible before.
Generate massive leads and sales
When you put it all together, it translates into more leads coming your way on a regular basis.
Not only that, the quality of your leads should increase as well.
They know you, trust you, and have rapport with you.
Therefore, a sizable portion of your leads is already primed to buy.
And it’s not unrealistic to expect repeat sales and long-term brand loyalty.
The Funky Fairy, a children’s clothing store in England, ran three sales over four days on Facebook Live.
Their goal was to liquidate their overstock inventory and quickly crank up sales.
The owner, Vicki Stewart, displayed the items for sale, while chatting about them.
Viewers, using comments, were also able to request specific items they wanted.
And it totally worked!
Views increased from roughly 7,000 during the first two sales to 10,000 for the last one.
This enabled The Funky Fairy to quickly move stock that otherwise would have probably just sat there.
There’s one last thing I would like to point out.
Increasing sales isn’t the only way to make more money through live video.
There are several ways you can monetize your videos to make money directly.
I came across an article from DaCast that highlights some specific ways you can make money broadcasting live video.
- Offer pay-per-view or subscription-based videos.
- Promote advertisers on your videos (“ads appear in the lower thirds of your video or as clips before your broadcast begins and/or interrupting it like standard television commercials”).
- Ask for donations and link to sites like Patreon.
I suggest approaching these monetization strategies with caution (you don’t want to create a rift between you and your audience), but I felt they were worth mentioning.
Under the right circumstances, they could definitely help you drive higher profits.
Does it make sense for you?
At this point, I think we can all agree the market outlook for live video is extremely promising.
It’s also clear that using live video can be highly beneficial to your brand and help you increase revenue.
But it doesn’t mean it’s right for every single brand.
Not to burst your bubble, but live video may not be viable if you have a small audience.
For instance, YouTube mandates that a channel must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers in order to live-stream.
This number was reduced significantly: earlier in 2017, you had to have at least 10,000 subscribers.
And quite frankly, it could be embarrassing if you go live and no one shows up.
Another issue is it can hurt your brand equity if you don’t nail it.
You’re basically gambling on your image by live-streaming.
Putting yourself out there could potentially backfire, and people may not necessarily like what they see.
Or maybe it’s just not for you.
It’s pretty common for people to freak out once the camera is on them.
All of a sudden, your mind goes blank and the whole thing is just awkward.
Remember, there’s no editing with live video.
Viewers see everything in real time.
I’m not trying to kill your vibe, but it’s important to look at all the angles before you decide to start using live video.
Live video is a powerful new format, changing the content marketing game.
Most experts are predicting it will continue to grow and more companies will funnel big money into it.
The potential is huge.
If you follow the right formula and create engaging live video content, you can strengthen existing relationships, increase the size of your following, boost engagement, generate more leads and increase sales.
On top of this, there are several other ways to directly monetize your live videos.
But it’s important to note this medium isn’t viable for everyone.
I suggest giving it careful consideration before diving in head first.
If it’s something you’re seriously interested in and makes sense for your brand, give it a shot.
For examples and ideas, check out this post from IMPACT.
How often do you watch live videos?