Sunday, May 26, 2024

Live Streaming Services: A Game-Changer in Event Marketing

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These benefits of live streaming in event marketing steer towards ease of access, minimization of cost, and maximization of experience to both events consumers and producers. For the scope of marketing an event, companies may not always possess the large funds that are necessary to market events through large-scale advertising. Live streaming provides a more affordable marketing tool for events to be broadcasted to a large audience. At the same time, it allows consumers who see the event advertisement to get an idea of the event without having to go through text information. This is a more favorable approach as viewers may not feel inclined to take in information on an event that is still a long time away, and may forget the event when the date is close at hand. A visual and audio presentation of the event through a live stream will give viewers a clear understanding of the event, and may lead to immediate commitment in attending the event. Viewing the event from the comfort of their own living space adds more incentive for potential consumers, as they may be able to have a taste of the event before deciding to fully commit.

The events industry is a highly dynamic environment, where events are constantly being conceived and delivered. Even so, it can be noted that for many years, the methods of promotion for these events have remained largely stagnant. The tools of promotion blend between printed marketing and digital marketing, which at times do not fully utilize the resources that can be made available. This results from a lack of creativity and innovation in the ways that events are promoted, and can oftentimes result in the event being undersubscribed. In today’s world, where digital and social media platforms are so easily accessible, there should be a more efficient way to promote events. This is where the technological advancements of live streaming into the scope of event marketing comes into play. Live streaming services offer an entirely new platform for event promotion, and also open up new ways in how the event is marketed. This will be an opportunity to revolutionize conventional methods of event marketing, and in turn increase the success of the events being promoted.

The Rise of Live Streaming Services

Live streaming services are services which host live events through the internet through streaming. Live streaming is now easier than ever to begin, there are many platforms that can be used, and one can easily find many online tutorials on how to get a live stream up and running. Because of its simplicity and low cost, this has become an ideal choice for event marketing. An event that has been well advertised and has a dedicated audience can generate a lot of hype by being streamed live. This can attract much more attention than the event would engage if it was never streamed. Viewers often find a sense of exclusivity when an event is live, they know that they can’t view it again so they are more enticed to watch. This brings new viewers to the product being advertised and can convert pause viewers into buyers. This concept can be clearly seen in studies that compared the effectiveness of live commercials to pre-recorded ones. A greater success was said to be achieved by the live commercials, and their impact on viewer buying habits was greater.

The last two decades have seen a very significant change in technology and a shift in the way things are done. The internet has played a very crucial role in this transformation. One area that has seen this change affect its operation is event marketing. The emergence of DVRs has lowered the impact of TV commercials, and it has become increasingly difficult to reach a wide audience through recorded TV. People have also been congregating to the internet, and event marketers are now beginning to host more events on this platform. Consumers have become more skeptical and traditional marketing methods less effective. It has become harder to attract attention, and so much money can be lost if an event is not successful. The answer here is live streaming services.

Benefits of Live Streaming in Event Marketing

Having video easily accessible over the internet also has indefinite shelf life. Events come and go, and with traditional web conferencing, a lot of it is audio only. Having the video available is not only a good marketing tool for viewers from that event but also potential customers who would want to see the type of things you do when holding an event. This will have the potential to bring ROI to the event months after it has happened.

Using live streaming is far more convenient because anyone across the globe can watch your broadcast as long as they have an internet connection. This, in itself, is a major advantage because breaking international markets can be a very hard task, and this allows a very cost-effective way to do so. A good example is an Australian company breaking the US market and billing in clients. Costs can be a fraction of holding a physical presence event, which would break the marketing budget before any result is achieved. Viewers are able to see the event live as it happens with no editing, reducing the skepticism that the event may have been a failure and the highlights were only shown.

This particular content of the work is about the advantages of using live streaming services in event marketing. The rise of the internet and social media/networking sites has led to the realization that it’s easier to get your message across if you just show it, specifically using photos and/or video, which is a very powerful tool. With the availability of mobile phone internet, live streaming has become very popular and a cost-effective way to broadcast to a huge audience. Those days of having to have an entire production crew and an expensive satellite truck to broadcast an event are long gone, as the technology has now been simplified.

Implementation of Live Streaming Services

Before starting a live streaming event, several technical considerations should be taken into account in order to deliver high-quality smooth streaming. They are streaming applications, internet connection, and hardware. The streaming applications come with a variety of options and price ranges, but the main focus is the internet bandwidth. The higher the resolution and bit rate, the higher the bandwidth required. The minimum requirement to stream a video at decent quality is at least 350 kbps upload bandwidth at the venue. High-definition video streaming may require more than 1Mbps upload just for smooth streaming, so it is best to optimize the streaming settings according to the internet upload speed. The hardware should also consider the availability of a digital video camera that supports firewire or USB for analog to digital video capturing, an audio capture device or microphone, and a video capture card for the rest of the hardware connection. An exhibition or event that uses a traditional video camera and microphone should buy a capture card with S-video and RCA connection and optimize the settings according to the hardware, or it can use the service of a professional videographer to edit and optimize the recorded video from the event, and then the video can be live-streamed at another date.

Live streaming provides several platforms to host an event such as Stickam.com, BlogTV, Ustream, and even video features via social sites such as Google+ and Facebook. Ustream provides a customized event’s page and URL, embeds to social sites, and a platform to work with smartphones to directly stream the event. Stickam and BlogTV are more focused on the social networking community with the ability to host events for group discussions or presentations. These platforms are user-friendly and only require simple registration before getting into live streaming. Meanwhile, Google+ allows users to stream video via Hangouts on Air by sharing with specific circles or making it public, and the video will be automatically uploaded to YouTube after it is done. Events that create a strong hype on Facebook should use its video feature to launch live streaming. All these platforms have different levels of complexity and user-friendliness, so the decision should be based on the briefing of the event that the client wishes to have and the audience demographic.

Choosing the Right Platform

First, it’s good to clear up that On-Demand Video is not an alternative to live streaming services. In fact, EventStreams would always recommend some kind of on-demand video post-event. But sometimes it’s the best option for the event day. On-Demand Video can be likened to online video akin to a pre-recorded TV program. Viewers can click and watch at any time, but what channels are they watching and what can they discuss with other viewers? On the event day, there may be little to no activity compared to the week leading up to the event. A live stream could be likened to a traditional TV broadcast. It’s channel-based content where you tell viewers “tune in at 7pm to watch this” and everyone can watch at the same time and discuss it. This is a great option for sports clubs who wish to unite fans worldwide at certain games or special events. High viewer activity and the general feel of unity provided by everyone watching at the same time makes it a more immersive experience.

Live streaming is becoming more popular in the event marketing industry and there’s good reason. This marketing medium can be very useful to marketers if the right audience is using the right platform. Live internet video is a relatively new form of communication and it’s difficult to find data on what works and what doesn’t. The article “Engage Viewers During and After Your Event” suggests choosing the right hosting site and knowing where your audience is very important. However, we’d like to think about that a little more and consider platforms in a broader sense. For example, should you be using live streaming or streaming on-demand? Because there are plenty of cases where the latter may be more suitable.

Technical Considerations

These considerations cover the technical side of the live streaming event. Over the past decades, the way we watch television has evolved dramatically. Most older folks still recall the huge television set that was set in stone in their living rooms. The television depended on an analog signal that was received through an antenna. The concept of “channel surfing” was literal, as getting up to turn the channel was the only way to change the programming. Today, we have stepped into the age of digital and satellite television, with analog going the way of the dinosaur. With digital television came the concept of “on demand” programming. This is blossoming into a new age of digital media with the advent of digital personal video recorders such as Tivo and Simple.tv. The idea of the DVR is to record what you want and then play it back at your convenience. Live streaming services provoke a similar concept, which is why it’s favorable with the younger crowd. They want to watch it when they want, not when it’s scheduled. With technology being so mobile, this diversifies the locations in which the event could be watched, whether it’s on a train commuting home from work, at a coffee shop, or even in a grocery store. All this being said, the point of the event is to ensure the best quality of experience for the viewer. This all starts with a reliable streaming service. Failing to use a quality stream will detract viewers from future events of the same nature. Another consideration is the length of the event. Most free live streaming services, such as Twitch.tv, only allow for a certain period of time in which the stream may be live. Exceeding this time will result in automatic termination of the stream. An event such as a LAN party could last from a Friday night to a Sunday night. It would be a nuisance to restart the stream several times over that period. An event such as this would be more suited with a paid streaming service, preferably with a dedicated tech support. Cheaper services have been known to have poor customer service and troubleshooting. This would be unacceptable during a tournament where thousands of dollars may be on the line.

Engaging the Audience

There are a few methods to engage your audience when it comes to live streaming. If the event you are broadcasting to your audience is happening in real time, then you can have a live chat to interact with the people watching the stream. This is good for answering questions your audience might have while watching the event unfold. If the event was actually recorded before you decided to live stream it, then you will not be able to do a live chat. Although a recorded video that is of something that already happened can still be effective if it is an interesting video.

The main purpose of an event can be to let others know what you are about, tell the story of your brand, and have some control over the message that is being sent out about your brand. But at the same time, we need to remember the audience and who our fans are. The audience is extremely important when it comes to marketing and marcom. You want your audience to take the message from your event and tell their friends, post on social media, and blog about it. The more passionate your audience is, the further-reaching the effect of the marketing message will be. Live streaming is most effective because it lets people from anywhere join in on the event happening in real time or watch edited content. It also makes people passionate because they can watch events that were previously only available to watch if they were there in person.

Case Studies: Successful Event Marketing with Live Streaming

Event A: Reaching a Global Audience The event was an academic workshop on data-driven design for virtual environments, hosted by the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The workshop spanned three days featuring presenters from Europe, Asia, and both coasts of the United States. The objective was to foster communication and collaboration among an international community of researchers in the area of data-driven design and virtual environments. The workshop was streamed live using a 28.8 k modem. All presenters were given the option to present remotely or download their presentation to be streamed at the time of their liking. Approximately 30 remote attendees averaged a 50% participation rate over the course of the workshop. Participation included chatting with the on-site attendees, posing and answering questions to the presenter, and viewing and discussing the presented papers. A mailing list was used to keep the remote attendees informed of the streaming schedule and last-minute changes. Overall, the streaming technology functioned smoothly with the only technical problems due to individual incompetence with the video players. A survey of the remote attendees and presenters showed a unanimous consensus that the streaming technology had extended the workshop audience to include a community that would have otherwise been unable to participate. The option of remote presentation was seen as a valuable and efficient way of extending the workshop’s international reach.

Since the use of live streaming as a form of event marketing is still relatively new, examples of successful application are valuable evidence for its power as a marketing vehicle. In this section, we provide narratives of three events that successfully employed live streaming technology. These case studies were drawn from interviews and a survey with event organizers, live speakers, and attendees of streaming events. The case studies examined were diverse in terms of scale, type of event, and business model and illustrate how live streaming can be applied to different situations to achieve a range of objectives. Although every event is different, these narratives provide valuable insights and ideas for prospective streamers.

Event A: Reaching a Global Audience

A global software company, which offers B2B services, desired an event marketing solution which could open the doors and push their products into worldwide markets. The first step was taken at a leading international marketing and sales event in the US where the company used a combination of on-demand video and live interviewing with great success. This was soon followed by a live product demo hosted from the data center and simultaneous customer sites in the US and Europe. Another live launch event was kicked off with teaser trailers promoting a live webcast at the firm’s website. Each of these events provided global lead generation and significant content for on-demand access which could be leveraged in the future. By using video, the company was finally able to gain direct insight and feedback from customers worldwide. An international data storage software company was in search of a way to reach out to both its employees and existing clients with a time and cost-efficient marketing strategy. They believed that by using a virtual event they would be able to deliver multiple live keynote presentations to employees as well as enabling sales and engineering staff to be available for chat and escalation to live demos. The company found that a number of storage industry event venues were beginning to offer their prime potential from the end-user community in the form of a virtual event or online trade show. The case in point here is 3PAR who utilized a joint venture between an online event production company and a popular storage industry forum. The live event consisted of a few live webcasts followed by a virtual panel discussion taking questions from a live audience chat. This event efforts resulted in a change to the forum size and composition and a reduction in time to market for sales using only a small percentage of sales and marketing budget.

Event B: Increasing Brand Awareness

Lastly, the method used was able to achieve the consumer trial and advocacy objective for the new product launch. This was because consumers find it easier to source new product trial samples when there are such events, and now knowing that the event happened in only one location, they would be asking their friends in Australia to bring back the products for them to try. A Japanese consumer said it was similar to a global football event happening in Japan – everyone would be trying to watch it, and it would definitely leave a strong impact in their minds.

Live streaming resulted in substantial cost savings with rather effective and efficient global communication, compared to other forms of media like digital or print media. This new approach was also able to attract journalists and trade customers as they felt that it was a very innovative and unique way of participating in a new product launch. The journalists could now cover the product launch at the same time, and the trade customers would be more than willing to take a look at the ‘broadcast’ over a cup of coffee in the office.

With the aid of live streaming, Event B was able to broadcast the Australian product launch event ‘live’ to the other regions at minimal cost. This created the opportunity for the other regions to view the event simultaneously, and a greater buzz was created as the event was something ‘unique’ in the sense that it was like a closed circuit TV broadcast, exclusively for the other regions.

Event B, a subsidiary of a multinational consumer brand and global leader in food and beverage, deserves special mention. It used live streaming for a new product launch that was happening in Australia but had strong implications globally. Event B was not able to hold the new product launch in the other regions simultaneously, thus resulting in the lack of a strong and unified impact in the respective countries.

Event C: Enhancing Attendee Experience

We looked at two events that use live streaming to reach a global audience and increase brand awareness. But what about events that have a physical location? The most obvious disadvantage live streaming has to a physical event is that it cannot take place in the virtual world. This means there must be an amount of effort to “bring the virtual audience to the physical event.” However, there are some events that still have a significantly larger local audience and may want to look at ways to strengthen the tie between virtual and local attendees. One example of this is the Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix events. This is a series of very large tournaments, each with a main event that features a cash prize and invitation to a Pro Tour as the top prizes. The tournaments usually last three days, but the first one or two are mainly for the side events. There is a very large virtual following of Magic: The Gathering, and it would not be hard to run a concurrent online event that features coverage of the top matches from the real-life event and could even lead to a virtual-only tournament. This would make live streaming a very effective tool to increase attendance of local events in the future. Another example is the professional World of Warcraft Arena and Mythic Dungeon Invitational. These are done at specific locations, but both offer data and information to spectate online games during a two-day event. This would create a situation very similar to the StarCraft II World Championship Series, and the WoW community has shown that they have a positive attitude towards it – the Reddit thread discussing the tournament has over 90% upvotes. This would be a good opportunity to use live streaming to unite local and virtual attendees, as well as increase viewership of the event in future years.

Future Trends and Opportunities in Live Streaming for Event Marketing

Seeing as attention from live stream viewers is considered to be less captive than that of traditional media, live stream interaction features are something which can be considerably valuable. Streaming platforms such as Twitch have already implemented interactive features which give viewers the ability to affect live streams. An example of this can be found in the game Choice Chamber, where viewers vote on in-game decisions which control the movement of the player character. This concept can be transposed to event live streams; simple polls and user voting can provide metrics to event organizers while making viewers feel more involved with events. An example of this could be a music festival live stream allowing viewers to vote on encores, or a food event allowing viewers to choose cooking ingredients. These kinds of interactive features bridge the gap between event and live stream, and provide something which cannot be obtained from physically attending an event or traditional media viewing.

A large number of people feel that the experience of attending an event in person can never be matched by watching a live stream. By acknowledging this and focusing on providing unique content specifically tailored for live stream viewing, this can be changed. Virtual reality (VR) is considered to be the next big thing in technology, and it will undoubtedly have an effect on live streaming. VR headsets are becoming more affordable, and with cinematic VR experiences beginning to emerge, it is likely that VR integration will be a popular feature for events within the next couple of years. By offering a virtual reality live stream of an event, viewers will be able to experience the event in a very similar way to those who attended in person. This provides a new dimension of viewing as VR users can interact with other viewers in a VR environment while watching a standard live stream, essentially creating a live stream within a live stream. Although it may be some time before VR becomes a common live streaming tool, it is an interesting prospect for the future.

Virtual Reality Integration

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. VR has become increasingly popular due to its advancement in performance and transmission of data related to the Internet, and also the availability of low-priced VR aperture. Through VR integration during live streaming, audience members will be able to fully immerse themselves in an event’s environment without being physically present. By wearing a VR headset or using Google Cardboard, VR users will be able to view a 3D version of a live-streamed event that they would feel as if they were really there. This is especially relevant to event marketing as live stream viewers often feel disconnected from an event as they are not physically there. Due to lack of interest, disconnection of emotion, and physical absence, virtual reality integration during live streaming will provide viewers with a more immersive and engaging experience. This will give a significant boost in viewership for live-streamed events and provide a unique selling point to event organizers that may consider utilizing live streaming as part of an event marketing strategy.

Interactive Live Streaming Features

Turn-based roleplay is a very common form of gaming in which events are processed at different intervals of time. This style is seen in games such as Final Fantasy or old-style strategy games. The way modern-day online RPGs have been designed has turned these style games into fully-fledged immersive atmospheres, where players from around the world can take their characters and interact in a shared world. Live streaming, with the use of saved data from these kinds of games, has the potential to enable people to merge their characters into the same world and have the computer simulate the events that would affect them. This opens up the doors to immersive PvP or large static events, in which players control NPCs to perform storytelling on a large scale.

Immersion The flow of interaction in modern gaming can be easily understood through semi-immersive modes. Player character versus player character interaction requires streamlined event transactions. We have two clients in which the characters experience each other through event interactions. A modern-day example is a fighting game, where the characters have to be in close range to each other. An event would be a player pressing an attack button on their controller. A transaction would then move data to see if the attack hits and if damage takes place on the opposing character.

Interactive live streaming hinges on the ability to seamlessly transmit data between two or several points of view of events across a certain distance. It is a proven method of live streaming that allows for immersive viewing and intense interaction, with the possibility to control the actions of the streaming events. The recording of these events can be thought of as a refrigeration of sorts, where one can pause the recording to take a break and continue at a later time.

Monetization Strategies

Despite the fact that these savings represent additional money in the pocket, the immediate consideration should be whether the stream will operate on a free or pay-per-view model. Sites such as Twitch and UStream operate primarily on a free model by providing most endemic content for free with advertisements, and only pay-per-view for premium content. YouTube essentially operates on a free model through AdSense revenue. However, remember that paid content on YouTube is viable thanks to the fact that it has an established user base and various examples of free content from the same providers. For event providers who must still promote their stream and potentially seek new viewers, it may be difficult to convert a free/paid model to an established user base compared to the potential of simply providing all content for free.

Before event organisers begin to understand how to make money, they first have to understand how much money can be saved. Although the costs can vary, a detailed case study on Dreamforce noted that the lowest price for the physical event was $1200 per attendee. Dreamforce attracts approximately 90,000 attendees, meaning that the minimum reveal for the physical event was priced at $108,000,000. When compared to live streaming, Smarter Event Planning noted that the cost for live streaming can be as low as 10-25% of the physical event cost. In the case of Dreamforce, this represented a potential saving of $81,000,000. A large portion of this can be considered additional revenue, as the live streaming cost was pure profit.

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