Video Essentials

Why Brands Should Avoid Live-Streaming Video Content, For Now

While live streaming may be the new trend among big brands like Redbull, Adidas, General Electric, public figures, and social media enthusiasts alike, one has to ask, does it merit the hype?

Live streaming’s current popularity is undeniable due to the immediacy that it offers; pulling viewers from their daily lives to engage with a brand’s content in real-time is invaluable for companies. Despite this asset, in a lot of ways live-streaming has yet to reach its full potential and brands that spend valuable time using it may lose more than they gain.

Live Streaming Has Terrible ROI

The beauty of video is the ability to manipulate time and watch something you could otherwise not experience on your own. Watch a video for two minutes and you can receive a vast amount of information. This experience is, more or less, lost with live streaming.

Due to the live factor, you have to convince your audience to trade a minute of their time for a minute of your live stream. The audience forfeits valuable time for potentially little information in return. You may lose your audience in minutes and it’s doubtful you’ll get them back.

This exchange can result in a less than favorable trade-off. Brands need to make their live-streams highly-engaging to sidestep this pitfall.

Live Requires a Heavy Workload

The biggest obstacle with live streaming is consistently filling broadcasts with quality content. Providing consistent quality requires having numerous webisodes, sketches, explainer videos, and behind-the-scenes videos, as well as keeping broadcasts to a schedule to maintain maximum engagement with the audience.

Switching a live stream from Wednesdays at 9 PM to Tuesdays at 7 PM, for example, will likely result in the loss of half the audience regardless of whether or not the streams are engaging. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for companies.

There’s Constant Demand for Unique Access

Both the blessing and the burden of live streaming is that anyone with an internet connection can broadcast. Long ago, media broadcasts were controlled by a small handful of networks. Then, in later years, the power was dispersed to thousands of cable channels.

Now, thanks to live streaming, broadcasting is possible for anyone. To avoid having live streams go unnoticed, companies need to give audiences unique access to experiences. For example, broadcasting a chef’s shopping trip to a local food market on behalf of a culinary magazine is a great teaser for the magazine’s upcoming issue. The problem is that unique access requires planning, scheduling, and plenty of time for execution. From all this hard work you’ll be left with a few minutes of engaging content for your website and social media platforms. Of course every brand wants great content, but at such a high cost?

Live Streaming’s Usefulness to Brands is Still Unclear

Live streaming is popular for a reason, and that reason is not unwarranted. During natural disasters, major news stories, or high profile events, live streaming is the perfect way to share details worldwide in real-time. It is also an asset for enriching communication within communities. Many notable public figures use live-streaming for just this reason; to increase the lines of communication with their supporters.

While this is an obvious perk of live-streaming, it isn’t one that brands can use. Your brand will most likely never have a topic as pressing as an outbreak of war or a state of the union address. The usefulness of live streaming to the general public is clear, but it’s usefulness to brands is still uncertain.

Live Streaming Is Not Ready

Thanks to apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, we know that audiences are keen to share every piece of information they deem newsworthy. The struggle with live streaming is the inability to share it.

LiveLive streaming keyword searches aren’t possible, push notifications are stressful, and lists of trending streams don’t exist. You can’t even replay a stream on Meerkat. All these missing features stop users from interacting on live platforms, and that is a crucial mistake. Better mobility within the medium is needed if companies are to generate leads and ROI with live video streams.

Live streaming is trending in the video world, but should companies dive in or hold off until it becomes a better investment for their time and money? Share your opinion in the comment section below.

Guest post by Anish Patel, the founder and head producer of Revolution Productions, a boutique video agency that specializes in animated marketing videos and explainer videos. accepts guest posts based upon their usefulness to our readers.

Live video image via Shutterstock.


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  1. We are despate to start streaming live videos of scenery, the cost just doesn’t add up using a CDN. We would have to put a limit on it. I am baffled how Netfilx can afford so much streaming for so little cost.

    When it comes to things like webinars I naturally ignore them. They always state a time that requires maths as I am in differrent time zones a lot. Plus I have a life, I don’t want to schedule time for information I can probably get on Youtube the next day or another source. I save most articles online for commuting or otherwise offline.

    Posted by James from Uscsnes | August 12, 2015, 5:17 am
  2. At Influxis, we have done a lot of live streaming for major brands and have had major success. The key is not just streaming via Periscope or Meerkat, but doing it right. Like you said, it’s about engaging the viewers and not only doing it in real-time, but making it memorable. See the Influxis case study page for how it’s been done resulting in huge ROI for the brands. It’s more than just streaming something for people to watch at a given time, but it’s about letting them interact with the brand and make something happen in real-time.

    Posted by Paul B | October 7, 2015, 7:26 pm
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