While live-streaming might seem like something that’s beyond the reach of your business, or maybe you just don't want to get in front of the camera, it’s worth considering how you can use live-streaming in your business.
Why? Because one day soon, live-streaming could become a genuine contender for TV in the entertainment space.
How? Here’s a quick rundown.
Live-streaming’s been around for a long time – you’ve been able to broadcast yourself via Google Hangouts or on YouTube. But the function gained notoriety in 2015 when live-streaming app Meerkat arrived which enabled users to broadcast themselves across the World Wide Web, in real-time, via just their mobile device.
That then lead to the development of Periscope then Facebook Live. The interest in live-streaming has continued to grow and expand, which has lead to all the major social networks considering how they can facilitate such functionality into their own apps, with Instagram being the latest platform to integrate their own live-streaming option.
But while giving everyone the opportunity to broadcast their day-to-day life is interesting, the real value of live-streaming could lie in getting major publishers and broadcasters to share their content, which could lead to a major shift in marketing power for the function.
While online platforms have been able to disrupt almost every aspect of traditional marketing and advertising, TV remains the most-watched medium.
When you think about it, it makes sense - our homes are built around the television as a central entertainment option and our interactions often revolve around TV content. Despite online viewership increasing significantly, TV is still crucially important.
But what if all the shows you like on TV were actually broadcast on Facebook? And what if you could watch Facebook broadcasts on your TV?
This reality is actually closer than you might think - Facebook is working on exclusive content deals with various publishers which would see them air content on Facebook Live instead of TV. Some of the big names they’ve signed up include comedian Kevin Hart and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay – there could come a time where the only way to see these stars is via Facebook Live, which would significantly boost viewership.
At the same time, Facebook’s also working on new ways to cast your Facebook live-streams to your home TV, enabling you to watch this exclusive content on the bigger screen.
If that happens, you could one day find yourself tuning into Facebook to watch your favourite breakfast TV program, as it’s possible that the next big TV series that everyone’s talking about will be airing on Facebook, not on a traditional TV provider.
These programs will bring a bigger audience to live-streaming, and that could also deliver major benefits to businesses who are using the option.
The advantage here is that Facebook knows what each of its users want, based on their on-platform actions. This is how they can show you more relevant ads, how they can highlight the content you’re more likely to be interested in. It’s also how they’ll be able to show you live-streams you might like alongside these bigger broadcasters.
For example, if your business is live-streaming, people who’ve Liked your Page could be watching a TV show on Facebook Live and they might get a notification that you’re also live so they can switch across. Maybe that recommendation will come up at the end of their program, highlighting your stream to interested viewers.
In this sense, live-streaming presents a huge opportunity, particularly if the platforms are able to transform it into a genuine TV competitor, which is very clearly what they’re trying to do.
It may not be a crucial consideration for your business as yet, but with more and more potential use cases, and increasing emphasis and audience, live-streaming could deliver big benefits for your online marketing efforts in the near future.
It’s worth paying attention to this space.