Since its foundation, the Internet has undergone a series of fundamental shifts. What began as a text-based application made an exciting transition to image-based content, rapidly followed by an upgrade to video-based content. We are now on the brink of a natural progression to live video.
Where does live video stand now?
Live video offers a number of benefits, including increased quality, targeted content and ease of access. Live video’s quality increase will ultimately be rooted in the presence of paywalls, which will fund the production of beautiful, cinema quality content that users are increasingly demanding. The industry trend toward high quality mobile content is already visible on traditional video streaming platforms like Netflix, which hiked its monthly subscription rates in late 2016 and put the additional revenue toward developing more high quality original content for 2017.
Mobile streaming also captures more viewer data than traditional streaming, which allows brands to produce content that their audiences genuinely want to see. They’re no longer at the mercy of ratings systems that monitor simple viewing figures. They’re capturing real interest and engagement rather than data produced by an empty sofa or a bored viewer scanning through channels.
When we consider these factors alongside the modern craving for simplicity and accessibility, live video presents itself as a rich and easy-to-view alternative to traditional video platforms.
Despite the benefits to consumers and marketers, live mobile streaming is still experiencing growing pains. The most significant of these barriers is revenue generation. The public has gotten used to consuming live mobile content for free with apps like Periscope, and convincing them to transition to the emerging ad-sponsored model will prove tricky. Public resistance is taking its toll on digital giants like Facebook, which has struggled to get influencers to test or use the mid-roll live video advertising feature it introduced in August 2016.
Influencers, celebrities and organizations have been reluctant to lose online or in-app views by adding advertisements to the mix or locking exclusive live content behind a paywall, despite the fact that this revenue could be used to produce higher quality content.
However, an increasing number of users are willing to pay to access exclusive, high quality live video streams. This ‘pay to play’ attitude sets them apart as brand advocates rather than casual consumers, and they consistently engage with content, make in-app purchases, and ultimately become mouthpieces for the brand. If influencers want their mobile ventures to succeed, tapping into an advocate’s pre-existing interest and enthusiasm is key. As the live video trend progresses, a higher percentage of in-app content will be moved behind the paywalls and it will be important for marketers to have a foundation of advocates to support and expand the brand.
Vasco da Gama is a good example of an organization that successfully used mobile content to reach brand advocates. When the Brazilian soccer team was relegated to a lower league, they partnered with white label developer FanHero to create a team app. The app used live video and other exclusive offerings, including a customized FanHero support team, to satisfy and engage the fan base beyond the reach of traditional or social media. According to FanHero data, Vasco’s conversion rate from download to registered app user was 84 percent. The average download to user conversion rate for most apps falls around 12 percent.
Significance of the live mobile video trend
For advocates, the growth of live video will result in a more authentic and immersive mobile app experience. They will be able to engage with high caliber live content at their convenience, surrounded by a rich and engaged community of likeminded users. The final hurdle to live video’s advocate-driven future is the lingering focus of quantity over quality.
Organizations and influencers still place greater value on viewing figures than on comments, shares and other forms of active engagement. Once influencers have full data ownership and are able to recognize the impact advocates have on their brand and other members of their audience, they can fully harness the power of live video to increase overall engagement, purchases and more.
About the Author
Christopher Cooper is the Chief Executive Officer of FanHero, LLC. Christopher has extensive knowledge in the mobile space, and has been creating mobile applications and strategies for an array of verticals ranging from finance to music. As a partner at MSI Mobile Solutions for the past ten years, he has been responsible for implementing the strategic vision, focus and effective growth optimization of the client’s mobile ventures before and after launch. Some of his clients included Warner Music, Service Finance and SEI.