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 Nikon Inc is Live Streaming Their Events & Trainings

With a large remote workforce, photography industry leader Nikon Inc was looking for a way to conduct staff trainings using live video. Originally, internal trainings were their only intended use case: it was cost effective and engaging. “There’s nothing quite as engaging as a live broadcast,” said Mark Soares, Senior Marketing Manager at Nikon Inc. Since then, their strategy has evolved into live streaming events and trainings. “We realized we needed to use live streaming to reach and engage our customers,” he said.

Since starting their journey with Livestream in 2017 (now Vimeo Livestream), Nikon Inc’s reach has exploded through live streaming their events and trainings. “It’s not just an add-on to our events strategy, it’s a key part of the strategy.”


Determining a Live Stream Strategy & Metrics for Events

In terms of developing a strategy, Soares and his team eased into broadcasting live from their events. “Our initial goal was to just get the ball rolling,” he said. “It’s intimidating when you first start; many things can go wrong with a live broadcast.” As such, ease of use and setup were critical to ensure they could get their live event running smoothly.

Their first time live streaming at a trade show was during the WPPI Conference in Vegas. To determine a metrics and ROI of their live streams, the Nikon Inc team divided the number of in-person attendees at the event in half, and used that number as a benchmark goal for total live viewers. “That was our guess,” Soares said. “We really had no metric to base it on because it was our first time [doing it].”

So, how did Nikon Inc fare with their first experiment? “We exceeded it significantly. We had almost 300% more viewers than what we had initially planned.”

“With a fairly modest increase in budget, you can reach a considerably higher audience [with live streaming].”

Since then, Nikon Inc has been on a live streaming rocket ship, launching a marketing strategy built around live. This includes major product announcements and trade show events, and has become a cost-effective way to reach a larger audience than even the biggest trade shows. “People go to trade shows for education, and a lot of brands bring education to the trade show floor,” Soares said. “If you’re already bringing that talent in, then it’s really not that much of a stretch to put a camera in front of them and broadcast it.”


Image courtesy of Nikon LIVE from NAB 2018 Day 2 – Corey Rich – Paralleling Still and Motion


Selecting Content for Live Streamed Events

One key driving factor to a successful live stream is the quality of the content. Soares’s advice is common (and always applicable): listen to your customers, and you’ll better understand what they want. Then, turn that feedback into content.

“Your end users are your best ambassadors. Take the content that they create [to inform your strategy], because they will inspire others to go out and do the same thing,” he said. Soares also suggests tailoring the content to specific demographics or niche audiences. For example, at WPPI, which focuses on wedding and portraiture, Nikon Inc brought in wedding photographers to share their expertise with attendees and live viewers.

“Take great content, great talent, and schedule it on a regular basis, and users will keep tuning in,” he said. “That’s why the audience keeps growing every single time we do this. You will add viewers to your event every single time. Incrementally, we keep expanding the viewership.”

Tips to Promote & Prepare for a Live Stream

Leading up to every major live stream, Soares and his team rolls out a turnkey marketing strategy to attract new and existing customers. First and foremost, Soares suggests building in paid marketing to your promotional planning. In addition to a paid social media campaign, Nikon Inc also:

  • Updates a landing page whenever a new event approaches
  • Sends email campaigns to current customers promoting their upcoming live programming
  • Features banners on their website with information about the live stream

Nikon Inc has found great value in simulcasting to Facebook Live, as well. “The viewership lives on social media,” he said. “While we get great numbers from streaming to our own site, we supplement that with our social channels, too.”

Don’t forget about the experience for your live viewers, too. “You’ve got to get great talent on camera that can speak eloquently to inspire your user base,” Soares said. “Look to give a great experience through the actual broadcast. We started with a single, fixed camera, and now we have many cameras where we can change the angle, etc — it’s very cinematic.”

However you plan to promote your live event, iteration and consistency is essential. “Start with something you can manage and build on it. There’s this exponential growth when you do these events on a regular basis and with great content. People will keep coming back.”


Nikon’s Technical Setup for Live Streaming

Wondering how Nikon Inc sets themselves up for success with their live streams? Here’s the equipment they use for their live broadcasts:

  • 2 Nikon cameras/lenses (of course), sometimes with a roving camera
  • Cameras are hardwired into a 4K Livestream HD550 (💡Tip: Nikon uses 4K cropping, which increases production level so two cameras look like six)
  • Livestream Studio
  • One back up Livestream Studio HD550

“Nikon makes cameras, but we are not in the business of broadcasting live events,” he said. “We needed a system that would be portable and easy to use, so that almost anyone could use it.”


Why Vimeo Livestream?

As a leading brand in the photography space worldwide, Nikon Inc needed an all-in-one solution that would make live streaming smooth for their large remote workforce and even bigger global audience. Whether internal or external, Nikon Inc’s live streams require a sophisticated workflow with a robust cloud solution, that was also portable and all inclusive. Vimeo Livestream fit the bill: a platform that makes live streaming simple and accessible, along with powerful and portable hardware — the Studio HD550 is Nikon Inc’s encoder of choice.

Livestream is the only end-to-end solution that empowers you to distribute compelling live content, engage your employees, and grow your business. To find out how to get started with live streaming, check out our “Ultimate Guide to Live Streaming Events” guide.