A livestream broadcast used to mean a hugely complex and technically demanding undertaking — but nowadays it can be far simpler to engage with your audience via live video. Products such as Facebook Live have made viewing live content on your phone more & more common, whilst Twitch has been one of the breakthrough creative platforms of the last few years.

Do you have an audience for livestream?

But taking an existing concept and putting it live isn’t enough. Live has its own challenges and rewards — not least finding an audience. With appointment to view numbers slipping worldwide, and an online audience becoming more and more used to watching what they want, when they want, you need to give your audience a reason to tune in right now.

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Twitch livestream

One place that is not struggling to find an audience is Twitch. Gamers streaming live footage and commentary of their sessions are attracting phenomenal audiences. There are several main drivers for these numbers. Twitch is an interactive platform — you dip in and out to join in the chat with both the streamer and the community at large. But you also get content that is best appreciated live — long form, unedited gameplay that allows the viewer to feel like they’re part of the action, with genuine results and gameplay. The edited down version of this showing the best bits would not have the same effect — and this honest and open format has propelled the best gamers to superstars.

Our approach to livestream

We always start a live brief with the question “why is this live”? Sometimes your project might fit better as a pre-recorded video. We try to make sure that any brief we turn into a live streaming project has a solid reason for doing so. This can be for jeopardy or transparency — backing up a brands’ product claim can become an event as Land Rover demonstrated when they pitted their latest model against a 4x4 course live on Facebook. As with Twitch, an edited version could have removed any mistakes but they risked embarrassment in front of thousands of viewers to make a huge statement. Engaging with fans on the spot is brilliant for talent led campaigns as it provides both content and a reason to tune in live. And live can also take your viewers into an exclusive view of an event they are not able to attend themselves — from product launches to concerts and competitions.

Our bottom line would be this — if it can work just as well as a piece of pre-recorded content, it’s not right for live. But if you can get the right mix, live can allow you to make some truly memorable moments and create far reaching impact.

Last year we brought together 75 creators (and 60 crew!) to create a 3 hour live stream for Stand Up To Cancer — opening the brand up to a whole new audience, and creating a sense of jeopardy through a series of live challenges. And in 2016 we gave audiences around the world access to an exclusive, one off dance performance at the Venice Biennale — taking them into an intimate and truly unique experience.

With more and more live streaming options opening up, from VR/360 to new digital platforms it’s clear that live streaming is here to stay — and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead.

Thinking about taking your project live? Here’s some things to think about when working out how live content can fit in to your marketing plans:

  • What sort of live show is right for me? Broadcasting from a phone is a great, low budget way to bring your audience into an intimate or exclusive environment, whereas a traditional, multi-camera set up is best for those larger scale moments such as performances or panels. For the right project, 360 VR is an option, too.
  • Why is this live? We always try and ask ourselves this question when planning a project. Exclusive access, one-off moments, a sense of jeopardy or danger and fan engagement are good reasons to go live. If it could work just as well as a pre-recorded video, then it’s probably not the right idea for your live project.
  • Where should I broadcast? This will depend very much on your existing audience — where do they normally interact with your brand? Drawing an audience to a new platform to watch your content live can be harder than the broadcast itself — so bring the content to them. It’s possible nowadays to broadcast to multiple locations — and don’t forget to tell people ahead of time!
  • Plan plan plan. Then plan some more. Even if you’re just going backstage with a phone for a sneak peak, planning your content to the finest detail will really help you make something compelling, engaging and re-watchable after the broadcast is over.