The live streaming market is already worth billions, and it’s only expected to grow. But even with so many revenue opportunities, many brands still haven’t figured out the best ways to implement live streams into their marketing strategy.
Brands without experience in the streaming marketing space can tap influencers as their live-stream champions. “Going live” is nothing new to social media creators. Plus, they already have an engaged audience eagerly awaiting new content and product recommendations.
In this blog, we’ll discuss live streaming strategies, brands that do it right, and the best types of creators to partner with when you’re ready to take your live stream game to the next level.
Why should I use live streaming as a strategy?
Create a sense of urgency
FOMO is huge for live streaming, and creating a can’t-miss event will bring viewers to your stream in droves. This tactic is perfect for product debut videos in which viewers can watch the big reveal as creators direct them toward a purchase.
An immersive experience
Social media users don’t get the full video experience when they’re just scrolling through their feeds. Live events provide a full-screen/full-sound opportunity for creators to captivate audiences to the fullest extent.
Even if viewers can watch the recorded version of the stream later, they miss the chance to interact with the host or ask questions in real-time. This is perhaps the biggest incentive for tuning into a live broadcast and creates a perfect opportunity for influencers and brands to build stronger relationships with target audiences.
Keep viewers engaged longer
With other popular video formats like TikTok and Instagram Reels, creators only have a few minutes maximum to engage viewers. Live broadcasts give creators time to speak about products in-depth and incorporate multiple tactics (Q&A, unboxing, tutorials, etc.) into a single video.
Live streaming is more authentic
Live streams aren’t perfect, but that’s part of their charm. Creators can’t do multiple takes, and any bloopers they have are on full display for the audience. Generally, any mistakes they make are pretty easy to overcome. And as a result, the creator comes off looking far more authentic than if they were to rehearse a product monologue or pose for a glamor shot.
What is the live streaming market size?
Data suggests the live streaming market will grow by an average of 21% each year until it reaches $223.98 billion in 2028. Researchers believe the rising popularity of esports, potential for higher brand engagement, and faster internet capabilities will be the major contributors to the live stream market’s continued growth.
The number of live video viewers skyrocketed during the COVID pandemic from about 127 million US viewers to more than 151 million US viewers. That number is expected to grow to more than 164 million by 2024.
Live streaming by platform
Instagram live stream
Instagram is the platform of choice for creators when it comes to “going live,” with more than 62% of creators saying they prefer IG over any other channel. The second-most popular channel is Facebook, at just 5.3%.
Instagram allows four users at a time to “go live” for up to an hour on a single broadcast. When the stream begins, the broadcasters’ account icons appear with a “Live” tag in the Stories section at the top of the Feed. Users can then tap the icon to watch the live content and interact with the streamers in real time via chatbox.
Instagram also launched its in-app shopping experience in 2020 to help struggling retailers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform introduced in-shop ads in 2021 to “make it easier for people to discover and shop from brands when they’re already in the mood to shop.”
YouTube live stream
Although Instagram has the most creators going live, viewers say they are more likely to watch live content on YouTube. About 52% of social media viewers in the US say they watch live content more frequently on YouTube. Facebook is second with 42.6%.
Creators can stream on YouTube and interact with their followers in real time via webcam, mobile, and encoder streaming. YouTube considers webcam and mobile as the best options for beginners, while encoder streaming is for more advanced users who want to broadcast gameplay.
The platform also offers YouTube Premiers, allowing creators to watch a movie or TV show together. The feature lets streamers create a public watch page that they can share with their fans ahead of the show.
Facebook live stream
Like Instagram, Facebook gives users the option to invite multiple accounts for a live broadcast. The streams can be added to a page, group, profile, or event using the Facebook or Creator Studio app. Online events allow you to host paid virtual events.
Facebook offers multiple tools to help creators increase engagement and enhance the live stream experience, including:
- Live polls for real-time audience feedback
- Featured links to direct viewers to third-party sites
- A Front Row feature that creates a special section for top fans
- Badges to showcase how often each fan interacts on the stream
Facebook also gives creators the option to add a “donate” button to live streams to help raise money for a cause or add a paywall to online events that require attendees to purchase tickets in advance.
Twitch live stream
Twitch has historically been a live streaming destination for gamers. It’s known for bringing celebrities into the gaming fold and famously broke its own stream viewership record in 2018 when Drake joined streamer Ninja for a Fortnite match.
But Twitch isn’t just for gamers anymore. The platform has become home to lifestyle influencers specializing in DIY, beauty, fashion, parenting, cooking, music, and everything in between.
The platform is extremely creator-friendly and offers aspiring influencers tips on running ads, getting sponsorships, or just learning the streaming basics. Twitch also emphasizes community-building and offers numerous tools creators can use to engage their audiences and reward loyal viewers during live streams.
TikTok live stream
TikTok Live is still relatively new and currently only available to creators who are at least 16 years old and have at least 1,000 followers.
The platform is in the process of testing TikTok Live Studio, which allows creators to download an app to their desktop that enables them to stream directly to TikTok Live. Like other streaming platforms, TikTok Studio lets creators stream content from their computer and gaming console and interact with viewers in real time via live chat.
Pinterest TV is a series of live, original, and shoppable episodes featuring Pinterest creators. Released in October 2021, the platform’s new live feature gives creators a space to showcase and tag products that users can then purchase on the retailer’s website.
Some of the content featured in Pinterest TV’s initial rollout included:
- A fashion series with designer and Project Runway alum Christian On
- A knitting show hosted by Olympic gold-medalist diver and knitting guru Tom Daley
- A beauty series with Manny MUA
- A holiday gift-giving series with comedian Robyn Schall
Live streaming marketing tips and best practices
Start promoting your live stream at least a week in advance to generate some buzz around your event. Ask your creators or any other partners to post on their social media accounts and give fans a little teaser about why they won’t want to miss out. Many successful streamers even keep a strict schedule of their streaming dates and times. That way, their fans know exactly where and when to watch their favorite creator and can make sure they are free to catch the show.
Only go live with creators you trust
There’s no taking back what gets said on a live stream. Offensive content might create a scandal that could severely damage an influencer’s image. There could be a long road to reputation recovery if your brand is tied to a problematic creator, so only work with the ones you know you can count on.
Pay attention to how the creator engages with their audience
It’s always important to vet how creators interact with their audience in the chat. Influencers who nurture a positive environment and engage in meaningful conversations with their fans should always be at the top of your priority list. But pay attention to how they speak about brand promotions, too. Understanding how a creator deals with branded content will give you a good idea of what kind of partner they will make and help you narrow down your search.
Micro-influencers generally have the highest engagement rates of any creators, and many brands have success using them in their live stream campaigns. But other times, you’ll need a creator with a larger following to make the live stream worthwhile. Because so much time goes into promoting the stream and prepping the creator, most brands will want to ensure their influencer partner brings enough visibility to the event to justify the time spent planning it.
Let the creators ‘take over’
Allowing a popular influencer to take over a company live stream is a great way to reach a new audience and promote a product unveiling or grand opening. The use of affiliate marketing for takeovers is the perfect option for businesses who may be new to influencer marketing because it only requires payment to influencers when a sale occurs via an affiliate link.
Brands using live streaming as a strategy
Cosmopolitan magazine has had a lot of success hosting live AMAs with household names in the fashion and entertainment industry. One of their more popular events featured influencer and designer Lauren Conrad. Lauren used the interview as a chance to plug her latest book release, and Cosmo allowed fans to interact with one of their favorite celebrities.
Wendy’s executed a massively successful live campaign in 2015 with YouTubers Rhett and Link to help promote its summer drink release. Rhett and Link churned out live original songs, skits, and Q&A sessions for the #SipMeUp streaming events and generated millions of video views on the brand-sponsored content.
It’s coming! Save the date as we are going live with @niathelight to bring you our first ever livestream shopping event on Instagram! 15th June 2021. #livestreaming #shopping #clarks pic.twitter.com/KOhErjC2QM
— Clarks Shoes (@clarksshoes) June 10, 2021
Clarks collaborates with micro-influencers to produce live shopping experiences on Instagram. Because creators are naturals in front of the camera, they provide an interactive shopping experience by chatting with viewers and answering questions while modeling different shoes. Plus, viewers can purchase shoes with Instagram’s live shopping feature without ever leaving the app.
Top 10 best follows for live streams
Christopher is a traditional sculptor who started his live streaming career in 2011. He uses his stream to allow viewers to contribute directly to the creative process and request various pieces and themes throughout the session. Christopher loves to interact with viewers on his stream and walks them through his entire creative process from start to finish.
Lost_In_House, aka Lostie, is a British artist bringing her live viewers the “very best in underground house music.” She shares the history of house music in hours-long sessions with a global audience just as passionate about the genre as she is. Lostie allows an open dialogue in her streams as long as there is no “drug talk or trolling.”
3. Lara de Wit
Lara de Wit is an Aussie musician who taps into 90s nostalgia with old-school video game music. She was a pianist for Opera Australia’s touring company “Oz Opera” for several years. She then taught music at an Australian high school before becoming a full-time streamer in 2017. Lara’s most popular videos feature songs from The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Kombat, and other classics.
4. Mo Gilligan
Mo isn’t a traditional live streamer, but the comedian often “goes live” for impromptu rants and hilarious musings about seemingly mundane topics. Mo is big in the UK and hosted his own late-night show in 2019. He currently co-hosts The Masked Singer UK and the Masked Dancer UK. He recently released a Netflix special called There’s Mo to Life.
CritterVision is a bit of a wildcard selection, but an entertaining stream nonetheless. It’s a 24-7 Twitch stream set up by a North Carolina couple to capture the wildlife that visits their backyard and forest. The nature cam features raccoons, geese, opossums, squirrels, and more. But best of all, it captures how adorable these supposed “nuisance varmints” can actually be.
6. Austen Marie
@austenmarie Tell me your a 90s kid by showing me your anime OC #redraw #digitalart #ipad #clipstudiopaint ♬ Lofi – Domknowz
Austen is an illustrator, photographer, video game enthusiast, and creator of the Ryder webcomic series. She became popular through her live video game sessions on Twitch but now mostly gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at her artistic creations. Austen is also musically inclined, with several tracks uploaded to Spotify.
Jon Burgerman is a British artist whose work blurs a mixture of fine art, urban art, and pop culture. He’s featured work in exhibits all over the world and collaborated with major brands like Samsung, Pepsi, and Nike, among others. He started live streaming some of his work in 2020 to entertain and inspire his followers during the COVID lockdowns.
Jerod, aka The8BitDrummer, is all about drumming, laughs, and good times. His goal is to create a positive environment where people can be themselves and listen to some good music. Some of his most popular videos feature tunes from the video games Megalovania, Super Smash Bros., and Sonic the Hedgehog.
9. Taeha Types
Taeha invites his followers into a world most people probably don’t even know exists—the world of luxury mechanical keyboards. The masterful keyboard maker believes that since people spend so much time typing in today’s digital environment, they shouldn’t overlook a device tailored perfectly to their needs. Taeha live streams all his building sessions to let his audience see what goes into crafting the perfect keyboard.
BotezLive is a chess show hosted by sisters Alexandria and Andrea. The sisters—23 and 19 years old, respectively—grew up playing chess competitively and represented Team Canada at many international events. They also live stream video game sessions and occasionally hop on their channel just to chat.
Social media marketers who didn’t use live streams as a strategy in 2021 missed out on a huge opportunity that more than 50% of their competition picked up on. If you still haven’t considered live streaming, there is no better time than now to start planning your approach.