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The Pros and Cons of Video Live Streaming

There was a time where companies were an entity without a face. Since the invention of the Internet and growth of social media that is no longer the case. Companies have become easier to communicate with, so it has become vital for a successful business to have an open and engaging relationship with their audience. Many choose to do so by maintaining an active presence on various social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, there is still a big gap in just how personal these relationships can be.

Video live streaming has become a popular option among professionals because it provides them an opportunity to promote their brand in real time. Being able to do this means you will get a real time report on who is interested in the product you are trying to sell or in the subject you are talking about. Live streaming should be an option for any company wanting to encourage more engagement with their audience and potentially develop new relationships with clients and other business professionals.

Hosting a Live Stream has a lot of benefits in regards to getting your brand out to the masses and engaging your audience in real time. However, there are some downsides to streaming one must consider before planning your first live video streaming project.

Pro: Very Engaging

Engaging with your audience is one of the most important aspects of having a page on social media. Engagement shows your audience that you care about what you have to say and it shows that you care about what they have to say. What better way to do this than have some sort of conference or live event for them to come to? Well, sometimes those who really like your content just aren’t able to travel to see you speak live. Luckily, we live in the age of technology where hosting a lecture or any other speaking event has become easier than ever.

Live Video Streaming gives you and your company a chance to interact with your audience in a way embedded videos can’t. It also gives you the chance to speak to a wider audience than a traditional lecture or other speaking event would. When you are doing a video live stream you don’t have to deal with the issues of selling tickets and running out of space—unless you want to limit the number of people who can attend your stream.

A live stream also creates a sense of urgency in the content you are posting. An embedded YouTube video can be watched anytime so your audience will likely put it off until the timing suits them—not you. However, when you host a live stream people are more inclined to watch because it might be their only chance to listen to you talk about this one particular subject.

Con: Much More Technical Set Up

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to watch a movie on Netflix or the latest Taylor Swift music video on YouTube and have the video stop and buffer every two minutes. The constant stopping can really pull a viewer out of the moment and even cause them to stop watching the video entirely. Now this might not necessarily be the hosting website’s fault, the user could just have a really bad Internet connection or they have way too many people sharing bandwidth at the moment. Regardless of the reason, a viewer is not going to like having to put up with a low quality, high buffering video for very long.

Streaming requires a lot of bandwidth and even more if you want to have a high quality stream. To get a rough estimate of how much bandwidth you will need, take a look at popular movie streaming services. For example, Netflix requires users to have at least 5 mbps of bandwidth in order to watch High Definition video.

So, if you don’t have a high power Internet connection (or access to one), you may have to decide between video quality and playback quality. Regardless of which one you decide to skimp on, some of your viewers won’t be happy with either low quality video or a video that is constantly stopping to buffer—meaning they probably won’t stick around very long.

Therefore, if you don’t have enough bandwidth then maybe you should just reconsider hosting a live stream until you can get better Internet service.

Pro: Longer Viewing Sessions

It is easy to pause an embedded video and comeback later to watch it. People do it all the time and it is not a big deal because the video will still be there twenty minutes or a week from now. There is no sense of urgency to finish an embedded video if you know it’s still going to be there when you get back. It is something we have all done and it is nothing to be ashamed about. It just makes it harder for companies to use videos to present their products. If a company is trying to sell something then they want to get those sales going as fast as possible and that can be hard if people don’t immediately watch the video presentations.

However, with live streams it isn’t as easy to pause what’s on the screen and come back to it later. In fact, the viewer is going to miss a lot if he or she does that. This means, people watching your live stream are most likely in it for the long haul. They want to hear what you have to say and are going to stick around until you have said it. This is also great for engagement because it means that someone who stuck around for your live stream is going to stick around for the other content you post on your social media whether it is an embedded video, a blog post, or another live stream on another topic.

Live streams create urgency because viewers know they may not get another opportunity to interact with you or other members of your company one-on-one again.

Con: Accessibility

Yes, with a live stream you don’t have to worry about travel or finding a venue with enough space for your intended audience but there are other issue you have to consider when planning your stream.

The big one is what time you are going to start the stream. Not everyone who wants to watch is going to live in the same part of the world as you and you need to make arrangements for those people. Chances are they aren’t going to want to wake up at four in the morning to hear you talk about your product no matter how interested they might be.

Something a lot of companies who do live streams will do the same live show several times a day to ensure they are reaching as many people possible. However, you may be busy and don’t have the resources to host multiple shows in one day. Other options could be to host them at different times on different days, but again, finding the time to schedule this could be difficult. Your best option might just be to pick one time and stick with it even if it means you lose a portion of your audience interested in what you have to say.

Pro: A Lot of Streaming Options

Live streaming has become much easier in the last five years because the options for streaming have really grown since the early days of Ustream. Today, many social media platforms offer live video streaming with their own individual benefits.

YouTube is probably among the most popular options for video hosting and live streaming. Now users only need 100 subscribers to host a live stream on the site. Not only does the site automatically notify your subscribers that you are stream, they also have a real-time comment section for you to answer your viewers question as they are asked.

Google+ also has a live stream option, which allows you to simultaneously stream on YouTube. The best part of the Google+ live stream is that it also automatically saves the video to your YouTube account, so if someone couldn’t make it to the stream, they are able to watch it the next time they get the chance.

Ustream and Livestream are still valid options that have mobile apps so you can stream and watch wherever you are; however, you still need a stable Internet connection to take advantage of this benefit. Another, not as popular streaming option is Facebook Live, which notifies your followers as soon as you start streaming.

If you aren’t looking for a serious streaming network and just want something to help you better connect with your audience on a personal level, Periscope—owned by Twitter—is a mobile-only option that saves your video for 24 hours. However, it is not the best option if you are trying to do some serious marketing.

There are dozens of other options out on the Internet, including some services you have to pay for in order to use. These options are probably better if you are a company with a large budget for their marketing department or you are investing a lot of time to develop a high-quality presentation.

Con: Legal Issues?

Just having a stream itself isn’t necessarily an issue because people cannot directly download it. While some of the above streaming options save your stream, they do not make the content available for download. However, some companies do offer a downloadable file after the lecture for those who might be interested in revisiting or for those who could not watch the stream due to other obligations.

It might seem like a good idea to have your stream available as a video download so that those who could watch the stream live can just download it and watch it on their own time. However, doing this could potentially open you up to piracy and illegal file sharing. So, if you don’t want your content shared without your permission, it might be in your best interest to have it not available for download as it could jeopardize your future streams on the same topic.

Pro: New Revenue Options

A free live stream could and will open you up to meeting new clients and potentially create new business connections. These new connections will open you up to new opportunities to sell your products, which will ultimately lead to you making more money.

You also have the option on some streaming networks to charge people to view your stream. While this might seem a little scummy, it’s really not. It would be just like if you were hosting a real event you wanted to sell tickets for. If you want to use streaming to generate more revenue you should make those streams exclusive to paying ticket holders. It is the fastest way to make money from streaming, plain and simple.

You also save money by doing a stream instead of an in-person presentation because you no longer have to account for travel and lodging costs. So, anywhere you can save money is also a place you can make money.

You shouldn’t let the cons scare you from trying to live stream as part of your company’s audience engagement plans. Instead, use the cons to better develop you future plans for live streams and account for any issues you might have before, during, and after the process. After all, it’s not like nothing has ever gone wrong with an in-person presentation. No method is perfect so you just need to look at the negatives and be prepared so nothing catches you off guard during your stream.

Final Word

If done correctly with enough prior knowledge, live streaming can be a fun and creative way to connect with your niche. It offers both companies and clients the chance to engage with one another in a way that is much more personal than a phone call or comments of a Facebook status. Live video streaming should be an option for any company that wants to reach a large audience fast.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and what other tips for LIVE Video Streaming that have worked for you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.


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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

One comment

  1. Great stuff Sean. I’m trying to learn everthing i can in Brazil to get more authority with digital marketing.

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