An online presence is essential to any organization’s success, whether it’s through a custom-built website, app or even just a social media account. The world is digital, and for prospective customers/users to even consider engaging with your brand or making a purchase, the first place they look is online. To this end, a dedicated website or mobile app is becoming the standard for meeting that bar, and video content is increasingly becoming an important component. 66 percent of consumers reported watching video content to learn about a brand, product, or service in a recent HubSpot Blog research report.
Video adds depth to information that can otherwise feel flat. It’s one thing to read about a product, cause, or event, and see still images, but it’s far more compelling to see it play out as a dynamic visual. Live streaming adds a new dimension to video content, connecting viewers more deeply to the material, and by extension, allowing them to engage with brands as it’s presented. Look no further than e-commerce for an example of this in action.
The rise of live shopping
Retailers are tapping into live streaming to give consumers a more accurate depiction of their products during the shopping experience. In some cases, these streams are interactive, allowing buyers to ask questions or receive special discounts for participating. On sites/apps with the right backend architecture, buyers can add items to their carts and make purchases, without leaving the live stream. Live shopping is already a multi-billion-dollar industry in Asia, and the practice is quickly catching on worldwide.
The most effective path to creating a holistic shopping experience is to build live video streaming capabilities directly into a retail site/app. While hosting videos on third-party sites is an alternative, it can lead to missed opportunities and limits audience growth since customers can be easily directed away from an engaged experience the minute they click on a link. Because these platforms are largely ad-driven, your audience may also be auto-served content that directs them further away from your brand, potentially even to a competitor. Natively hosted live-streamed events, however, keep every interaction right where it belongs.
Looking to the cloud
Whether building interactive live video for an e-commerce site or another business, it doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. Advancements in internet connectivity and wireless technology coupled with the power of the cloud are making it easier than ever to launch a live, high-quality, interactive video strategy, and without infrastructure overhead. Using the cloud for live streaming also ensures scalability; it can be tough to predict how many viewers will tune into a stream and from where. Managed solutions like Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) – the same technology used by Twitch – help simplify the integration of cloud-based live streaming functionality by providing developers access to secure, reliable resources while reducing development time and costs. When it’s used to power streams, viewers receive the highest possible quality video at low latency, without interruption, whether ten, 10,000 or 10M people are watching. Streams can also be easily recorded and replayed on a brand’s site/app, with shoppable links remaining live for as long as needed.
If your video goals are to achieve general awareness and reach, sticking with an established platform is fine, but if you want to build relationships or grow a community, keeping viewers engaged on your own site/app is far more beneficial. This approach also provides access to valuable data that is otherwise lost.
Live streaming is also a boon to creative talent. Leveraging native live video lets performers reach their fan base in new ways, and significantly grow their audience. For example, Korean pop group BTS live streamed a virtual concert in June 2020 that surpassed 750,000 global viewers. With tickets averaging $30 a piece, the band is estimated to have earned nearly $20 million for the 100-minute long performance.
Whether offering an intimate concert, delivering a stand-up comedy set, or broadcasting a show from a large venue, performers can gain insights about their audience – and get paid appropriately – when live streaming their content. They can also add a digital “merch” table of related souvenirs, from t-shirts to posters, provide educational videos, or even establish a site dedicated to a favorite cause or special interest. Implemented effectively, natively integrated live streaming can enhance and elevate virtually any digital experience.
The power of scale
Live streams are great for engagement when the experience quality is maintained, meaning the backend technology appropriately scales to support traffic demand. Running multiple concurrent live streams on the same site/app generates new points of interest for the potential audience and with global reach, but can be tricky to implement, unless it’s built into your live streaming solution. Scalability is a huge value proposition of the cloud. This applies not only to implementing high engagement features like live video, but the site/app backend in general. Tapping the cloud and leveraging managed services, businesses have the flexibility to innovate more rapidly since it’s easier and faster to experiment, learn, and get up and running.
Big swings with a small team
It’s only a matter of time before live video is a must versus a bonus for quality sites/apps. By relying on established technology to handle the most complex aspects of live streaming, developers can instead focus on creating standout elements around the live streams themselves. This greatly reduces the resources needed to get started, letting teams develop faster and create better viewing experiences for users. You can also scale your strategy with your company’s needs, both up and down.
Spinning up a live video channel from scratch can be done in minutes versus months using Amazon IVS. With a few simple clicks, you can easily add scalable, live, low-latency interactive video to your app or website. The technology’s APIs also let developers jump right into customizing their players and integrating interactive features, such as polls, surveys, and other overlays into their live video feeds. Most importantly, there’s little to no financial risk in experimenting with the service. The service itself is free; costs are only incurred for the underlying AWS services used for active streams and stream views.
If you’re interested in building with interactive live video, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/ivs/.