Everyone Is a Creative – Empowering Your Fans to Amplify and Broaden the Reach of Your Content
By Simon Smith-Wright, CEO and Co-Founder of PUSH LIVE
Welcome to the era of live streaming.
Live streaming has been with us for a while but it’s fair to say the pandemic pushed it to a whole new level. With in-person events cancelled overnight and fluctuating restrictions, brands were forced to innovate digital replacements and viewers flocked to live streaming channels for entertainment: game streaming viewers nearly doubled during the pandemic.
But live streaming isn’t the digital equivalent of a rail replacement bus service. It’s a rapidly developing art form with explosive opportunities for brand growth, seen in its integration with influencer culture. According to research from App Annie, global consumers will have spent 458 billion hours live streaming in top social apps in 2021, driving total social consumer spend which is estimated to reach $17.2 billion annually by 2025. That live streaming is a key force behind this is reflected by the data: in the first half of 2021, $3 of every $4 spent in the top 25 social apps were in apps that offered live streams.
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Utilising fan networks
Live streaming, then, is an enticing option for brands. But if they want to excel in this new era of live, they need to shift the way they see the streamer-audience dynamic. Brands need to stop seeing audiences as passive absorbers of content and start seeing them as co-hosts and collaborators who can broadcast their message to new audiences.
It’s fans’ own networks that are the greatest asset to marketers in live streaming. If brands use live streaming technology that gives super-fans the ability to share their experiences with their own followers, they instantly, exponentially increase their reach and access new audiences. It’s an organic, authentic way to introduce themselves to new consumers that overrides the emotional wall that can often arise with paid content. Plus, many fans’ friends are likely to share similar interests, traits and social circles so this sharing method is self-targeting and means your content has the best chance of meeting the most receptive consumers.
Implementing a curated co-host strategy
Brands can take this network partnership still further. Now technology is available that allows for simultaneous, multiple streaming and companies can turn to carefully selected streamers, influencers and superfans to also share their content.
Implementing such a strategy, gives brands and rights holders the ability to reach and acquire new audiences and selectively target the unique and distinct audiences that these influencers and superfans have built. Bringing fans into this process not only helps to amplify reach but can also help foster greater loyalty by making co-hosts feel intimately involved with and part of the brand.
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Such a partnership is incredibly lucrative for both sides. Content creators can broaden their scope of work, by curating as well as creating content. The content they stream on behalf of brands can be customised so co-hosts get unique content that aligns with their audiences preferences. Additionally, they can potentially receive direct rewards from brands – for instance, co-hosts may be rewarded with bonuses for successful streams. And brands, again, get to drive organic engagement and build authentic relationships with viewers who are primed to enjoy their content and trust their offering due to their co-host connection. Creators on platforms such as YouTube or Instagram also have far greater understanding of their audience than say traditional or linear broadcasters with far ranging insight into demographics, brand affiliation and location, presenting brands a unique opportunity to ensure their message reaches the right people at the right time.
The power of personalisation and customisation
However, customisation isn’t just for co-hosts. In fact, personalisation is at the heart of truly successful streaming. Traditional live streaming operates on a ‘one-to-mass’ approach which focuses on broadcasting the same content to as many people as possible but brands miss out on so much if they let their viewers get lost in the crowd.
An audience isn’t homogenous and neither should a stream be. Content should be tailored to take into account the distinct and different groups that make up a viewing audience. Smart brands will even empower viewers in each demographic by compartmentalising live streamed events. This means viewers are able to shape their own live streamed experience and choose to follow a prescribed event path or head off and create their own, unique journey.
And consumers will reward brands for this careful attention to detail. Personalisation can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can lift sales by 10% or more; in video, personalisation brings a 166% uplift in conversion. Previously, the financial and resource cost of such personalisation may have been too great for brands to consider but now tools and services are emerging that are removing this barrier and making customised live streams more accessible.
In the era of live streaming, consumers aren’t there to just consume. With the evolution of technology and appetite fuelled by the pandemic, brands have been gifted fellow broadcasters who can help them organically grow their reach, build meaningful relationships, and drive ROI. Creative is no longer just a sign on a department door – it’s a role viewers now also fulfil.
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