The saying goes “time and tide wait for no man (or woman)” and we can add to that ‘consumption-driven technology (CDT)’ ie. technology designed to assist consumers to find and consume products. Whether technology is driving changes in consumer behaviour, or consumer behaviour is driving new technology, change is being forced upon businesses and consumers.
These changes lead us to pivot and adapt to a new world order early and live streaming is one CDT on the uptake. So as we charge forth into 2021, let’s explore some of the logistics of live streaming
I’ll explore the fundamentals of live streaming logistics and sort genuine potential from the hype raised by the ‘alphabet’ drivers.
Live streaming – video simultaneously broadcast and recorded in real-time
Principal analyst Matt Moorut from research firm Gartner estimates live stream commerce was a $60 billion industry in 2019. Note: the vast majority of that was spent in China, especially on beauty brands. It’s a fledgling phenomenon in streaming for the western consumer and it offers some interesting opportunities, but as usual, making the best use of the technology will be in how and when the tactic is deployed.
While pretty much anything can be recorded and live-streamed such as a zoo walk, a shopping expedition or celebrity work-out or makeup tutorial. Optimising the value of the tactic rests in the strategic execution and the creative at its core. Whatever the premise of your live stream, the construct has to be relevant, unrivalled and valued by your audience, especially if you want to encourage repeat viewing.
Live streaming’s immediacy is it’s imperative
Live streaming seeks to connect with consumers with immediacy, scheduled as they are to take advantage of a planned occasion, celebrity or influencer presentation, demonstration, sale event, exhibition or must-see experience making maximum use of FOMO. This leaves lots of scope for monetising a live stream event, whether it be by charging for a voyeuristic experience with benefits eg. a walk through a zoo with access not provided to a public visit, museum or onboard for white water rafting; revenue share on sales resulting from the event or even sponsor rights to the event (who was the first celebrity to sell live streaming rights to their wedding…?).
Live streaming can be a great way for consumers to discover and learn about products. Pairing with an event (eg. test drive new release with Jeromy Clarkson), program or channel (seasonal content such as Carols or fundraisers) or influencer with a significant volume of audience or followers can instantly heighten the reach of the live stream. Influencers are currently making the most use of this facility, given they can direct their followers to tune in on schedule and generally affect their purchase of the product.
The influencer effect combined with lockdown, also explains why live streaming garnered so much acceptance during 2020. Instagram and Facebook responded by adding options to their facilities to serve advertisers/sponsors and why wouldn’t they? They lead the charge with Amazon and Tik-Tok for brands and consumers to take up using the feature.
Live Streaming Logistics
But as you decide to race toward embracing live streaming in your arsenal, temper your decisions with consideration of some other factors:
- Some of the biggest companies in the world have a vested interest in driving THEIR new digital marketing tools, point in case while 69% of Americans have bought online, 47% of them made their first purchase on Amazon. There’s a lot of reasons Amazon captured that quantity of first-timers, not the least of which is product range, consumer reach, added value offers and resources (logistics and customer service), so keep your expectations realistic when you forecast the results and impact of your own live streaming event.
- Influencers come with a ready-made audience and their influence on them. Although you can live stream to a small select audience and the 80/20 rule still applies, consider where your audience congregates and try to arrange the timing, location and perhaps theme of your event to coincide with that audience to maximise reach. Increasingly real-world marketing is offering real marketing opportunities.
- The average revenue for the US online shopper is US$1,804, indicating this feature is dominated by lower-priced items ie. not so many luxury handbags, holidays or cars in this zone – yet. Therein lies the opportunity to grow those sectors in this tactical feature eg. vicarious holiday experiences showcased by pre-arranged mainstream customers or celebrities/professional presenters as seen on Getaway. NZ Tourism did a campaign many years ago casting three different profiles ie. family, couple, singles to have an all-expenses-paid experience of New Zealand and allow it to be filmed for later use in advertisements. This type of promotion can now be live-streamed and auctioned at the same time.
- Live streaming is all about timing. The event is scheduled and the offers are available for a limited time hence the FOMO influence. As the world heads back to some form of normality, is your audience going to have the flexibility to indulge your timing? After spending so much time in isolation, would a live event in real life hold more appeal, as people regain their ability to congregate, socialise and go shopping?
- With the uptake of online shopping clearly adopted as the norm, let’s not forget that for many, shopping is an activity, a social exercise and entertainment. That’s a factor Westfield and other shopping centres are banking on to survive. So when you consider whether live streaming is right for you, contemplate what opportunities might lay with the shopping centres to host and support your event. Are there other suppliers or brands in the centre who might want to collaborate, even on a national basis, to build your real live event? This way Facebook, Instagram and any other social platforms can host and promote your real live event. Remember people LIVE in the real world, they just scroll through the digital one.
Social Shopping – vicariously shopping
Walmart used Tik Tok’s social elements ie. culturally aligned influencers with shopping technology features that allow audiences to purchase goods in content while tagging products in Facebook and Instagram Shops is one of the latest initiatives to be introduced. Tuning in while your influencers do a vicarious shop and letting them select your products for you is a shopping phenomenon that influencers with the most connected followers can exploit.
This type of social shopping can generate impressive numbers if the brand strength, product appeal and audience volume (ie. influencer appeal) is there to start with, but don’t expect the same results if you’re a small supplier with a limited following or contacts database. This is when it’s better to pair with a brand, event, channel or complimentary supplier who does.
It’s also key to consider what stage you’re at with your own product life cycle, don’t generate demand you can’t accommodate and don’t overspend testing a new digital sales feature just because the hype is compelling. As you evaluate the results of other’s campaigns, consider how you compare in all the factors that drive their social media success, including when they began their social presence, what influence they attached to and what resources they had to throw at it.
Combine Digital Marketing With Real Life Living
Livestreaming with a poignant message can be a great way of generating awareness while aligning your business or brand with issues you and other people really care about eg. the library of NYX Pro Makeup live-streamed tutorials. In this example, the professional cosmetic brand targets a niche market (LGBTQ community), aligning itself with gender equality and human rights.
This is not only a positive alignment with cause, as this community is strongly represented in fashion, performance and the arts where makeup is a staple of participation, it’s also aligned with a strong niche market sector that has a strong emotional connection to this cause. Win-win.
Time is money so retailers looking to add value to time-poor customers will continue to introduce initiatives such as online pre-order, home delivery and curbside pick up, but these will be enhanced with other technologies such as virtual try-on and alternation pre-delivery. The consumer is King and the world is adjusting to suit his/her needs.
As you contemplate the logistics of getting your product to your customer, where can you make it easier and how can you add value to the customer by removing a barrier to ownership or delivery? Can you sublet space from a retail chain for pick up points? Can you recycle returns at a discount? Can you use video to demonstrate and inspire product use?
If you’d like to know more about how to use live streaming events in your business marketing, contact Wanted – Reward Offered.