Forrester: How Brands Can Livestream Successfully

There are many reasons live video has become the go-to tool for savvy brand marketers. The technical and financial barriers to entry have fallen, social platforms are prioritizing it in their algorithms, and audiences are attracted to it, according to a report from research group Forrester that shared how brands can livestream successfully.

Live video presents brands with opportunities to interact with customers in real-time and reach audiences that would be otherwise inaccessible. The Forrester report “Prepare to Support Video Livestreaming for Customer Experiences” says brands can livestream successfully and stand out from the competition with well-tested technology.

Live Video Has Become More Accessible

Once costly and challenging to deploy, the democratization of technology means that brands can execute live video easily with a smartphone, or an entry-level camera like the Mevo Plus, livestream’s live event camera. There’s no need for post-production work, reducing the overall cost of the technology. “It’s exciting that we have this canvas now and can lower the cost of video production,” Ryan Sullivan, senior vice president of performance services at media agency Performics, says in the report.

How Brands Can Livestream Successfully

While live video appears to be the latest tool in a marketer’s arsenal, Forrester notes that it’s important to know not just how to do it but how to set yourself up for a successful livestream.

#1 Start Small
Slow and steady wins the race. Instead of diving headfirst into costly equipment, start first with low-cost hardware like a smartphone and external microphone. As you begin to see success, you can invest in more sophisticated, but still easy-to-use, hardware like Livestream’s three-camera kit.

#2 Syndicate Your Live Video
If you already have a following on social media, start broadcasting to your existing audience. Then continue to expand your audience by syndicating your livestreams to other social platforms. You can do that with Livestream by streaming your video across multiple platforms simultaneously.

#3 Triple-Check Your Connectivity
Ensure you have a dedicated and reliable wifi or wired connection that no other device has access to, in order to reduce bandwidth fluctuation during your stream. “Livestream is able to auto adjust bandwidth and change our stream, according to what works best,” says Chad Reese, director of information technology at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “If you’ve got a good bandwidth you can really pull off some spectacular things.”

Once You’re Doing Live Video Well…

#4 Expand Your Audience
Forrester pointed to Tough Mudder as an example of a brand doing it right. The endurance race events company turned to Livestream with the goal to attract audiences they weren’t able to previously reach. At most events, it broadcasts six feeds from on its own website, as well as a single stream on Facebook. Tough Mudder also promotes events across its social media channels, driving viewers back to its website. Its focused strategy attracted around 14.5 million unique views across Livestream and Facebook in 2016, with a website peak concurrency at 70,000.

#5 Interact with Your Audience in Real-Time
According to Mike Delgado, director of social media for Experian, interaction is really about “listening and figuring out what your community cares about.” The credit reporting agency hosts a live credit chat on Periscope daily, answering questions and giving advice on financial matters. On average, the livestream sees over 3,000 comments and 500 viewers each month.

Final Takeaway from Forrester

Livestreaming video gives brands a unique opportunity to get closer to their customers and interact more authentically with their audiences – now at an even lower price point. However brands still need to put in the legwork when it comes to testing and technology to take their livestreaming experience to the next level.

Learn more about Tough Mudder’s live video strategy in our case study or explore Livestream’s plans to get started.

[Case Study] How ISC Sports Network blends live streaming with video subscriptions

When Greg Maish, President of ISC Sports Network, began using Vimeo Livestream, his goal was to live stream sports from around Indiana into the homes of surrounding communities. “We had this vision of a single place where people can come and see local sports,” he said. “We wanted it to be accessible and readily available, for all of our sports fans.”

In just four years, ISC Sports has grown from strictly live streaming games into a full-fledged online channel, using Vimeo OTT to offer live and on-demand sports content. Learn more about how Maish used Vimeo to scale his local sports business, grow his audience, and monetize video content in our interview below.

Growing from live streams to on-demand video

Working in telecommunications for most of his career, Maish understood the trajectory of cord-cutting behavior, especially those who opt into OTT content, or services that go “over the top” of traditional cable providers. “At the end of the day, we all are TV consumers — but we are also very much OTT consumers, whether it’s Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, or even on our mobile devices,” he said.

After digging into his viewers’ behavior in Vimeo Livestream’s analytics, Maish made an interesting discovery. Despite the in-the-moment experience of live sports, there was a surge in broadcast views after the events ended. “It’s an interesting dynamic. We’ll get maybe the same number of views that we get during the game itself,” he said.

With this intel, Maish saw an opportunity to grow his audience with OTT. “Vimeo OTT was the piece that was missing,” he said. “We wanted a ready-to-go, fully developed solution. It’s been a real easy way in [to the OTT industry],” he said, referring to the simple content management tools and branded apps available in the platform.

Generating and growing ad revenue with Vimeo

For many broadcasters, advertising is a critical source of revenue. Admittedly, “local sports is not always that easy to sell,” Maish said (ISC Sports competes with 10 Division I NCAA colleges in the Hoosier state). Using Vimeo OTT’s analytics, Maish was able to pinpoint the number of viewers his productions brought in, where those views came from, their watch time, and more.

“[The analytics] give us great feedback on stuff we would normally guess on,” he said, and unlike other television measurement models, the data is precise. “It’s not a guess, it’s not an estimation — it’s really what’s happening.” Providing quantitative data to advertisers, and subsequently guaranteeing that their product or service will be seen, makes for a straightforward transaction.

Tips to live stream sports

ISC Sports is a prime example of starting scrappy and scaling quickly. How did they achieve their success with building a local sports network in just four years?

1. Know your vision. “You’ve really got to have a vision when you get started,” he said, while acknowledging that it can (and likely will) change. “Ours has evolved over time.

2. Top-notch, reliable distribution. Your business won’t gain traction unless you’re broadcasting quality content to bring in and maintain viewership. “That’s where having a partner like Vimeo plays into our business strategy,” he said. “With Vimeo, we know that when we’re out streaming, it will work. It’s always just worked, and that’s been a key ingredient in our success.”

In the end, Maish remains invested in and reliant on Vimeo to support ISC because of the team behind the platforms. “One thing we’ve learned as both a community-facing service provider and from dealing with vendors, is that loyalty is everything to us,” he said. “If we feel secure in that relationship, we will preach it from the rooftops.”

“When a vendor does what they say they will do and they do it well, we will be vocal to say, ‘These are the guys you want.’ Looking at what we have with Vimeo, we will share the good news with anyone who needs to hear.”

Engaged audiences spark business growth

Through their highly-engaged audience and growing advertising base, ISC Sports now broadcasts all over Indiana. “Our production team continues to grow,” Maish said. “Even for a local game, we may have 10 guys there doing things. We’ve had to evolve into multiple crews, trying to cover as much as we can.”

Fortunately, as demand grows, so does ISC Sports’ bottom line. “What we’re spending is very manageable,” he said, referring to Vimeo’s Livestream and OTT price points. “[It’s] something we can not only pay for, but it makes it a profitable endeavor for us.”

Learn more about how to grow your business — and audience — with on-demand video in our guidebook, The 2018 OTT Revolution. By analyzing 1.3B consumer data points, we took the guesswork out of how viewers consume and subscribe to video content, empowering you to focus on expanding your reach and maintaining subscribers.