Why are brands turning to live video streaming?

Live videos are growing in popularity because they are immersive and engaging, giving consumers a front-row experience, say analysts

The live video feature was first launched by Facebook, followed by micro-blogging platform Twitter and then YouTube.
The live video feature was first launched by Facebook, followed by micro-blogging platform Twitter and then YouTube.

New Delhi: When smartphone maker Motorola Mobility India launched its fifth-generation Moto G5 in India on 4 April, the event was live streamed on YouTube and Facebook, where it received 37,000 and 210,000 views, respectively.

Motorola’s parent Lenovo Mobile Business Group (MBG) says most of its product launches are webcast live on social media.

“A live event video is the first actual asset that officially goes out as launch communication,” said Rachna Lather, marketing head of Lenovo MBG and Motorola Mobility India, adding, “We believe that through live video streaming, our consumers get information about the product, its specifications and the offers to be availed of in real time. We make sure that the brand presence should be felt at relevant platforms by seeding the live video for the in-market audience.”

Motorola isn’t the only one. The Indian units of automobile giants like Hyundai Motor Co. and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc., US home-sharing giant Airbnb Inc., beauty brand Avon Products Inc., and home-grown fashion e-tailer Myntra have adopted the same strategy.

Essentially, a live video allows a brand or an individual to stream video content using either a smartphone or desktop in real time. The feature was first launched by Facebook, followed by micro-blogging platform Twitter and then YouTube. Companies quickly latched on to it to launch new brands and engage with consumers.

Experts say live videos are growing in popularity because they are immersive and engaging, giving consumers a front-row experience. They can ask questions of a brand, give feedback and become a part of the community. Unlike a mass media channel like television, the communication is not one-sided.

“While the traditional launch mediums usually result in a unidirectional flow of information, the live video format helped us build positive digital chatter among our target audience by encouraging interesting conversations around our new range of products,” said a spokesperson for Avon India.

The beauty products maker recently unveiled its new range of colour cosmetics called ‘Avon True’ through Facebook Live which was viewed by more than 100,000 viewers.

Apart from product launches and live webcasting of on-ground campaigns, another big use case of live video for brands is getting celebrity endorsers to interact with consumers. Avon India, for instance, received more than 2,000 interactions within a span of one hour during the Avon True launch in which consumers asked questions and sought tips from the brand ambassador, Bollywood actor Aditi Rao Hydari.

Saurabh Doshi, head of media partnerships at Facebook India, says the chance to talk to someone influential tends to attract viewers. “It is an authentic communication in real time and that is why we have seen live videos getting far better traction than pre-recorded videos which feature celebrities,” he adds.

Along with brand promotions, live videos are also becoming a staple tool for movie studios to launch trailers as well as execute marketing promotions. Viacom18 Motion Pictures, which distributed and marketed American action movie xXx: Return of Xander Cage, featuring Hollywood actor Vin Diesel and Bollywood’s Deepika Padukone, live webcast the premiere of the film on Facebook and YouTube. Viewers got a chance to interact with the stars.

“Live, as a concept, is still growing and evolving. However, once the viewer tunes in, live videos beat every other platform in terms of engagement and interactions. Currently, being leveraged in a non-curated fashion, it has to evolve in a way where content creators can plan the kind of content that viewers want to consume including a multi-camera set-up which ensures superior live experience,” said Rudrarup Datta, senior vice-president, marketing, Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

Filmfare Awards also live broadcast all the action from the red carpet where celebrities interacted with users on Twitter through live streaming. Twitter also live broadcast a special show with film director Karan Johar and Filmfare’s editor Jitesh Pillai hosted by digital creator Abhish Mathew an hour before the awards show was broadcast on television.

“There is a novelty factor in seeing something happening in the world in real time. Live video also helps build virality. It the content is good, people will start retweeting it, which will lead to more people joining in,” said Taranjeet Singh, business head, Twitter India.

Live video is also a cost-effective tool through which brands can easily map the engagement primarily through views, likes, shares and comments.

Although the cost of a live video is one-tenth that of a digital video campaign, it attracts ten times more views and eight times more comments than a pre-recorded video, said Manu Bhadane, associate vice-president, video strategy, WATConsult, the social media agency of Dentsu Aegis Network.

“I believe that marketers will invest 5-10% of their digital video spends on live videos,” said Bhadane.

According to a report jointly published by Dentsu Aegis Network and exchange4media, video advertising spending is estimated at Rs1,249 crore a year and poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40% until 2020.

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