Note to our readers: this blog has been updated as of 2019
“Content is king” is a common saying in online marketing. If content is king, video is the king of kings. Whatever your industry—sales, manufacturing, sports, entertainment, and many others—online video, and especially live video streaming, can help boost your ROI. This blog will discuss how to select the best live streaming solution for brands.
More specifically, this blog will examine the essential features that business users need. These are the video hosting tools that define the best live streaming solution. With these high-end features, you can boost your business. With that in mind, this post will also examine ROI and how to calculate it for live streaming businesses.
There are endless statistics to back up the assertion that live streaming can boost your business. For example, companies using video are likely to have 41% more web traffic from search than non-users. Given the central importance of search in the modern business landscape, that’s a critical differentiator. Let’s dive into a few more of these statistics and what they mean.
How a live streaming solution can boost your business
In a report published by Forrester, including video in an email campaign leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in CTR (click-through rate). This can be essential for email marketing, which is one of the most important forms of modern marketing for many businesses.
When it comes to ecommerce and sales of service, video content makes online purchases 1.6x more likely. That’s a clear positive that can be used to boost revenue. This is especially useful given that you can easily test the ROI of such video via A/B testing with simple analytics and pricing info.
Live stream events are widely used for product launches and demos. The most famous example is Apple’s product launch events, which are live streamed to millions of people each year. These events build hype, brand awareness, purchasing intent, and loyalty.
Overall, 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. That’s far higher than any other individual type of content. That’s reflected in the bottom line, as well. Marketers who are using video are seeing 49% faster growth in revenue.
We’ve now covered the reasons why live streaming and online video is essential for modern businesses.
How to choose the best live streaming solution
The next step is actually getting started. This requires a variety of tools and services, including a live streaming solution.
So how do you choose the best live streaming solution for your business? One of the best ways is to narrow down the specific features you require. In the next section of this article, we’ll take a look at this.
Essential business features by industry
Different industries require different features. For example, for some users, the ability to monetize video via pay-per-view or subscriptions is absolutely critical. But other industries couldn’t care less, and need to focus on API integration instead.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the key features that business users may need. These include monetization, analytics, security and privacy settings, custom branding and integrations, and API access.
First, let’s examine monetization. There are four main types of monetization used in the video industry today. Two we’ve already mentioned: pay-per-view (common for sports) and subscriptions (common for OTT media). Some estimates are that more than a third of professional broadcasters monetize their content via subscription models.
The third common type of monetization is advertising. Ads are widely used, especially on large broadcasts. Many online video platforms like DaCast make it easy to integrate advertising monetization via their API. Ads can help you make a good income if you have a decent size audience.
The final type of monetization is sponsorships. Working with partners and sponsors can bring significant revenue to some types of events, especially sports, entertainment, trade shows, and conferences. There is also, of course, the indirect monetization option typified by Apple: the monetization comes from selling products or services promoted in the video, not from the video itself.
Does your pick for the best live streaming solution have the monetization tools you need?
Modern businesses rely heavily on data to help them make decisions and assess success. Analytics are the method by which this data is collected.
Different online video platforms offer different analytics tools. Some are relatively basic, while others include advanced breakdowns of data about users.
The type of data that businesses are looking for includes information like:
- User locations and visits per country
- Devices / Operating Systems being used
- Bandwidth over time
- Bandwidth per country
- Ability to look at a specific time-range
- Number of visitors/hits over time for each piece of content
- Revenue data
- Real-time viewer count
Security and privacy settings
Businesses have greater needs than the average person in regards to security, privacy, and access control. There are various tools that can be used in this regard.
For example, look for a streaming platform that supports both geo and referrer restrictions. Geo restriction allows you to allow only people located in certain countries to access your content. People located in all other countries will be blocked. This can also be used to restrict content to viewing on corporate intranets.
Referrer restrictions are similar, but block people based on the website they are visiting to watch the video stream. This allows you to “whitelist” your website and any partner websites which are allowed to stream the content. Unauthorized websites that online pirates use will automatically be blocked.
Another common feature of a secure online video platform is HTTPS delivery. This ensures that your stream cannot be intercepted or tampered with during delivery. Any streams that are monetized, and thus may transfer payment information, should definitely use HTTPS for streaming.
Privacy settings include the ability to password protect your live events. This can be essential for many business users. Some platforms also offer content access tools that can be used to give different levels of account access to different people within the organization.
Custom branding and integrations
Businesses need to brand content. Unfortunately, most free video hosts like YouTube and Facebook don’t offer any control over branding. In contrast, the best live streaming solutions offer the ability to custom brand every video and live stream. This includes “white label” service—a video player and environment with no branding from the host.
Many professional platforms also give users the ability to customize their video player with brand-appropriate colors and styling—or even to use a custom video player of their own. These players can be embedded on your sites seamlessly for simple, visually appealing integration.
For professional broadcasters, an API (Application Programming Interface) can be a make-or-break feature in a video platform. An API allows you to set up custom mobile apps, platforms, video portals, and more. It allows you to streamline existing workflows and add online video alongside other distribution methods.
An API is a must for many broadcasters. The best live streaming solution must always have video API access.
ROI and budgeting for live streaming
So what about the cost for live streaming? This piece began by talking about ROI. Here’s how to do some basic calculations.
Your costs will be made up of:
- Cost of online video platform
- Equipment costs
- Staff and production costs
Your return will depend on your industry, but may come in the form of:
- Sales of products or services
- Increased brand loyalty
- Partnerships and network building
This brings another important factor into the conversation: cost. Is your selection for the best live streaming solution a cost-effective choice? Many platforms are expensive or only offer business-class features to top-dollar customers. This is an important factor.
We recommend that every business check out DaCast online video platform. Our streaming solution includes all of the features listed in this article and many more. Plus, our pricing is transparent and highly competitive with the other services on the market!
If you’d like to try out our services, you can check out how our live streaming platform could boost your business with our 30 day free trial (no credit card required). We’d love to help you meet your streaming goals today!
Thanks for reading! We love to hear from our readers, so if you have any questions or experiences to share, let us know in the comments! For regular tips on live streaming, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.