In today’s video-dominant world, lots of businesses want to take their live streaming to the next level.
Let’s say you’ve learned the basics, and maybe you’ve even tried streaming live video a few times. Despite your efforts, the results were lackluster. First, you don’t want to do video halfheartedly. If you’re going to invest time and money in this, you want to make sure they get the maximum possible return. Microsoft, for example, got triple-digit ROI on their investment in video training.
To make video live streams as effective as possible, you do need some particular skills and knowledge. To that end, this post aims to educate you on these topics by answering the following questions:
- What can I do to take my live streams to the next level?
- How can I become a master of video hosting content?
- What can I do to increase views on my live streams?
Video live streams add major value for business
Before we dive into these questions, let’s first consider several reasons why you might want to set up live streaming video.
As a medium for reaching out to customers and colleagues, however, video live streams have great power. Over the past decade, businesses have begun maximizing the potential of video. Live streams are ideal for live events, breaking news, sports, politics, speeches, and so on. Likewise, video on-demand is a great fit for announcements, instruction, and training.
For example, here are some salient data points about live streams and online video:
- It is 50 times easier to achieve a page 1 Google search ranking with an embedded video on your page.
- Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media.
- Mobile video viewing has increased more than 1,000% since 2012.
- Shoppers who watch videos are 81% more likely to make a purchase.
- Emails that link to video have a 200-300% higher click-through rate.
- Streaming entertainment has overtaken live TV and continues to grow
How businesses use video live streams
As one example, look at marketing consultant Kim Garst. Kim has used live video as the cornerstone of her own content marketing. She does this by first recording a live stream. This content can then be transcribed and re-purposed as a blog post. The audio can serve as a Podcast. Snippets and images can be excerpted and used for social media posts. And slides of summaries can be posted on sites like SlideShare.
And she’s not alone. Small and large businesses are investing in live video.
We’ve all seen business videos that create a stunning amount of emotion in a short time. Check out the famous Dollar Shave Club video as an example. It’s only 93 seconds long, but it communicates quite effectively. Even better, that video helped to grow their business from start-up to a net worth of more than $600 million.
We’ve covered many more case studies in other blog posts, too. As you can see from those use-cases, video is extremely flexible. It can be long or short. Informal or highly scripted. Professional or behind-the-scenes. Live or on-demand. Interactive or not.
How to take your videos and live streams to the next level
Let’s get into the important meat of this article: how to improve your content to boost performance. Here are some of the important factors you can consider:
Use a professional streaming platform
Free live streams apps are everywhere. However, these platforms have many downsides. There are ads everywhere, content links back the social media host (not your website), SEO is poor or nonexistent, and security controls are limited.
Instead, opt for a professional live video streaming platform, for example Dacast. Unlike free services, pro online video platforms will provide white-label custom branding, a range of security features, and more.
“Transcoding” refers to the process of creating multiple copies of the same video at different quality levels. This allows each viewer to watch the best possible quality, given their internet speeds. The effect of this is minimal bounce rates, higher completion rates, and happier viewers.
DaCast, along with some other OVPs, has built-in cloud transcoding functionality. This feature allows you first to upload a video. Then, you can transcode it into multiple different quality levels with just a few clicks.
Record live streams
Another way to maximize your video performance is to record all your live streams. Sometimes, broadcasters are so focused on live video they forget about VOD. However, by recording your live streams, you can continue to accrue views and boost performance of that content. Plus, you can reach viewers who missed your live event as it was happening.
As with video transcoding, cloud live stream recording is available for all Dacast accounts. With just a few clicks, you can activate this setting to ensure all your live streams record in the best available quality.
Offer rewind for live streams
We’re all late to the game, so to speak, sometimes. That’s why rewind is such a great functionality to include with your live streams. For example, Dacast includes a 30-minute rewind feature on all live streams. This allows late-comers to catch up, and makes it easy for viewers to re-watch their favorite parts.
Use a low latency video streaming provider
Latency refers to the delay between filming an action and when that content appears on your viewer’s screen. In live streaming, latency between 30-60 seconds are common.
However, this degree of latency can introduce problems. This is especially true when it comes to “second screen” use. In fact, 80 percent of sports fans use a “multi-screen” approach while watching sports. In other words, they are looking up stats or chatting with friends while watching the live game. Of course, it ruins the live viewing experience when Twitter updates you about a game-winning shot before your live stream updates.
To fix this issue, look for a low latency live streaming provider. Low latency solutions typically have latency in the 10 second or less range. For example, Dacast now offers an Direct HLS low latency solution.
Use a fast internet connection
Without a fast internet connection, you can’t stream live content in high quality. We recommend you have at least double the upload bandwidth necessary for all your stream bitrates combined.
These days, you can record decent video with a cell phone. That said, be sure to test your setup beforehand. You don’t want a big broadcast ruined by bad audio quality or fuzzy video. For that reason, most professional broadcasters choose a single or multi-camera setup, in concert with dedicated professional cameras and a hardware or software encoder.
And don’t forget about audio, either. In fact, audio is a lot more important than you may think when it comes to live streams. In fact, Dacast has found that audio is at least as important as video quality. Therefore, invest in getting high-quality audio.
If you’re new to the acronym, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Simply put, it describes the science of how to get higher rankings in web search results.
As you might expect, SEO can be a big factor when it comes to getting views. Optimizing video SEO involves writing good keywords and titles (more on this later). You can also improve SEO by hosting content on your own site, rather than on Facebook or other social media sites. Dacast, for example, allows broadcasters to stream live video right on your website.
When it comes to live streams, even the pros can have problems. Fortunately, avoiding most of these is simple.
Test, then retest. That should be a mantra for live streamers. The system has a lot of moving parts. Camera, audio, internet, script, people, assistants, graphics, viewers. If any one of these systems fails, the whole stream can fall flat.
The solution is to test thoroughly before going live with a video stream. Make sure to discover, isolate, and correct issues before they become problems.
How to increase viewership with live streams
Once you have the right setup in place, you need to ensure that people tune in to what you’re producing. That’s the goal of the whole operation. By starting with live streaming, you’re putting yourself in a good position. Live streams tend to generate urgency and “buzz.” That makes people more likely to sign up and show up.
Marketing professionals know this. According to Troy Evans at Moz: “We’ve known for some time now that a live broadcast will often produce a significant increase in viewership.”
Starting in 2014, for example, the Superbowl achieved 1000% growth in live video streaming over the previous year. That was but one sign that audiences have been ready for live streaming for some time. However, video streaming is just the beginning. Most people need additional tools and methods to improve viewership.
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite methods.
1. Spread information before the broadcast
Before your live streams start, you’ve got to generate some excitement. This means posting on your blog, social media, and other platforms. Send emails. Inform your friends and partners. Spread the word as widely as possible.
You may want to encourage people to pre-register for your stream as a way to capture leads. This strategy may also encourage people to show up. You can send reminders before you go live, or use a live countdown. Most people register for live events 1-2 weeks before the event begins. Choose a hashtag for your stream. This allows both you and viewers to engage in social media conversations on the topic.
2. Write compelling titles and descriptions
Titles and descriptions can make or break your video. They’ll either entice people to keep watching, or drive them away.
When choosing a title, you want to iterate. Come up with 10 to 15 ideas, and then choose your 5 favorites. Pull out favorite words or phrases. Then do it again. You may want to do a little testing to determine which phrasing generates more viewer clicks. Consider using a segment of your email list for these tests.
Remember, only about 50-60 characters of your title will show up in search results. That means, you need to get to the point quickly.
You description is where you can go into a little more detail. This should be detailed and include keywords and phrases related to your stream. Remember, search engines can’t parse videos. People can’t either: they need to watch them. Every video description should include a 200-500 word summary of the content. This lets search engines index what your OTT video is actually about—and drive more viewers to your content.
You may also want to include:
- A call to action (such as signup for our email list)
- A link to your website
- Links to your social media channels
3. Tease content
One of the best ways to get more viewers is to tease your content. It’s why TV shows and movies all use “teasers.” Usually, this takes the form of pre-releasing snippets of information. These could be images, memes, GIFs, videos, or text/blog posts.
Look for “Tweetable moments.” This is content that’s valuable, interesting, and bite-sized. Content like that has a higher chance of inspiring shares. Remember to include the time and date of your broadcast in these teasers. You should also include a registration link, or a way to sign up for email reminders.
4. Reward your viewers
In terms of live streams, another way to get more viewers is to reward those who do tune in. The goal with this strategy is to provide something of value to your audience. This can take many forms. For example, one social celebrity in Nepal offered to make a phone call to a few randomly chosen fans who commented on his live stream. Ultimately, this incentive generated more than 1500 comments.
Other ways to reward viewers include holding giveaways and raffles. Alternatively, you can offer coupons and discounts. Or, rewards can be social in nature. Being the first to learn important or exciting news can be a reward in and of itself. So can gaining valuable information. In short sharing secrets and tips is a great way to generate buzz and get more viewers.
Overall, of course, the best way to reward your viewers is with good content. So, make sure your content is valuable, actionable, problem-solving, or emotive.
5. Lengthen your broadcast
When it comes to on-demand videos, shortness is key. With live streams, on the other hand, this is not necessarily the case. Partially, this is because “views” are counted differently for live streams. Typically, a view counts every time someone log on to a live stream, given that the broadcast could end at any time. Even a fleeting viewer could end up watching a significant portion of the broadcast.
This points toward the value of taking things slow when doing live stream for events. Of course, you don’t want to bore your audience. At the same time, you don’t want to run through all your valuable content in the first 15 minutes.
Generally speaking, the longer you’re streaming live, the more chance people have to join you. Viewers will increase with time. More viewers equals more comments, more engagement, more information, and more conversions.
6. Cross Promote
Simply put, you want to use all of your channels to promote your live streams. During the lead-up to the stream, share the URL. Include the compelling description you have written. Once the event begins, you can share teasers or excerpts. And be sure to use your hashtag in all of these materials!
Professional video hosting services
Even with all the above tips and strategies in place, taking things to an even higher level of quality is possible.
Professional video hosting services, also called OVPs (Online Video Platforms), make it easy to manage and implement a video strategy. These services package various tools together into one comprehensive whole. This includes live streaming, video hosting, analytics, secure video upload, monetization, security and access restrictions, embedding, and more.
Things like live-switching between multiple cameras and microphones can make a broadcast extremely professional. So can having pre-recorded content to splice into your live broadcast. This is possible with playlists and live switching.
These are just a few ideas. There are countless other ways to become more professional as a live streamer. But before any of these tricks will be valuable, you need to build an audience.
The bottom line is simple. To increase your viewership by 800%, you have to do a lot of things right. You need to promote, create good content, use SEO to your advantage, and more. Importantly, you also need to use the professional tools a good online video platform can provide.
For our money, DaCast is the best all-around option for video hosting and live streaming on the market today. Our advanced platform even offers China video hosting for VOD, a feature not available with many streaming services. We help a wide range of businesses get started with live streaming.
For more details, you can check out our live streaming pricing plans and customization options. Are you ready to try our streaming solutions for yourself? Just click the button below to sign up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’ll have you up and streaming in no time!
Thanks for reading, broadcasters, and good luck with your live streaming video. And if you want regular tips on live streaming, you’re invited to join our LinkedIn group.