Boosting Engagement: Live Streaming Strategies for Singaporean Marketers

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1. Introduction to Live Streaming

Live stream service is relatively young, with uptake accelerating in 2015 when live streaming went mainstream and both Twitter (Periscope) and Facebook added the capability. Now many internet platforms and companies have launched their own live streaming services and enterprise streaming services from companies like Kaltura and Ooyala have been put to commercial use. Marketers are entering the visual marketing arena. Now more than half of the country’s social users pay for a larger data bucket on their mobile plan, increasing live channels’ accessibility. In Singapore, entertainment is the major driver of live streaming Singapore. People view films, play games, attend classes, or create home shopping experiences through online streaming. Given the dearth of information on the effectiveness of live streaming for local marketers in Singapore, a study of who the key connector of brand drive may provide value. Defining engagement is not black science. It does require clear parameters, however, in order for a value to be equitable. Social media engagement is driven by the effective working of a brand audience relationship—interactions represent a return with brand engagement goals. Accordingly, Singaporean marketer objectives centered on social media influences the engagement rate.

Live streaming has transformed real-time video into one of the fastest-growing media trends, including in Singapore. High penetration of playback-capable devices, easy-to-use platforms, and sophisticated mobile networks have transformed the experience of live streaming, leading to new opportunities for interaction and engagement locally and with the world. Singapore is no exception when it comes to account holders’ changing social media habits. The average Singaporean has more than ten social accounts on various media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Carousell for shopping. Smartphones are an everyday tool used in the social experience with social and messaging apps at the top of the usage list. Smartphone users reach for their device an average of 47 times a day, more than anywhere else in the world.

1.1. Definition and Importance

Today, events or shows that were previously recorded are aired live – either news coverage, webinars, product introductions, weekly vlogs, or the latest reality TV show – and people seem to love the raw, unedited, and amateurish nature of live programming. Viewers seem to enjoy seeing what happens without the benefits of editing that traditionally take out all the mistakes. Being able to tune in live and also interact with the broadcast or the host also creates a much deeper level of engagement – that’s what has set live streaming apart from Video on Demand (VOD) services and well-edited excerpt clips of special events. Unlike traditional programming, when someone is broadcasting live, it requires broadcasters to be present physically, mentally, and emotionally for the whole event.

Since the advent of social media and smart devices, the way audiences consume content has seen tremendous changes. Unlike before, when most people relied on traditional television, cinema, or radio to watch their favorite shows or catch up on the latest news, many more of today’s generation are often glued to YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, or Facebook Live. All these platforms have already set up live streaming infrastructures to cater to the growing numbers of viewers or broadcasters, both for business and pleasure consumption needs. Due to this shift in viewing and broadcasting habits, marketers in Singapore have an opportunity to innovate and create exciting live streaming content that people actually want to watch.

1.2. Trends in Live Streaming

Although periscoping moments and sports events are definitely valuable and compelling, a whole realm of corporate and traditional marketing and broadcasting hasn’t embraced streaming in the same way. The biggest event in the marketing world of creating buzz around planned, fully produced events like award shows/new product announcements is still largely populated by UGC posts, even though it is clear that there is space for accepting, or even harnessing, this behavior into owned and controlled media containment and creating lasting value from streaming events, instead of losing it to the media and momentum.

The appeal of watching a live broadcast in real-time has evolved as applications like Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and musical.ly make it more convenient for users to stream content that people tend to watch in real time. Many special event broadcasts like the Breaking2 Marathon, royal weddings, and endless streams of sports have begun to embrace live streaming, but its fullest potential as major broadcasting events is far from being fully capitalized. We are seeing all of these multimedia and social platform companies invest heavily in live video and foray into mobile streaming. User-generated content is unlike traditional streamed events, more informal, candid, and interactive, creating greater engagement than standard video content.

2. Understanding the Singaporean Market

In Singapore, there are two official languages – Malay and Mandarin. However, English is by far the dominant language. The majority of people living in Singapore are proficient in English and they will often use it to communicate with people from other ethnicities. They also have four official religions – Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. When it comes to internet penetration, Singapore is right up there with around 74% of the population regularly using the internet. It’s the first country to have broadband access for almost 100% of its population. The average time spent in watching TV and online video is 105 minutes and 71 minutes respectively. Forty-one percent of Singaporeans watch live streaming video on the internet.

In order to effectively market a product or a brand to the people in Singapore, you must have an intimate understanding of who they are. The population of Singapore is relatively small compared to most other countries at around 5.8 million people. With such a small population, it’s no surprise to know that 91% of them live in urban areas. The standard of living in Singapore is high and that’s reflected in their GDP per capita which is the 20th highest in the world. For marketers, this means that the people living in Singapore are able and willing to pay a premium price for almost anything you put in front of them. Singapore is a melting pot of many different cultures. The largest ethnic group is the Chinese, followed by Malays, and Indians. There are a number of western expatriates living in the country. Many of these people come from the wealthy nations of Europe and North America.

2.1. Demographics and Consumer Behavior

Facebook, the most popular social media platform among Singaporeans, has 3.4 million active accounts. Researchers show that 60% of Singaporeans use Facebook daily with an average time of 38 minutes. On Instagram, Singaporeans spend an average of 46 minutes each day, which accounts for 35% of the population. Additionally, YouTube is an add-on in showing how consumer behavior can be influenced by live streaming strategies, especially among Singaporeans, as 35% use it daily.

Demographics show that about 98 to 99% of Singaporeans are online on some digital platform, which means there is immense opportunity to reach them online. In terms of digital channels, there are various platforms available for the marketing of products to the target audience such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as YouTube. But how should marketers communicate on these platforms? Because each of these platforms has its own specifications, so marketers should know how to communicate according to the channel’s nature and user behavior.

2.2. Key Industries and Opportunities

An example of another characteristic display in the case of construction and real estate is livestreaming the procedure of completing the venture. This is all about fulfilling the oft-expressed demand of a simple guide for the customers to bring them to where the task now is and to keep them on track. In the case of ticket sales for concerts or tourist attractions, the use of live videos to give potential clients an opportunity to see what the done environment will feel like gives the product an opening to have its distinctive features highlighted. Audiovisual clips have proved to be tremendously efficient in persuading potential clients and customers of the genuine experience. By engaging potential clients on a much deeper and personalized level, marketing experts are supplied with the imagery that will guide them on how to package and display the product and convey the real-time message of the services to be offered.

Real estate is a sector that has proven itself to be exceptionally well-suited to livestreaming as part of the sales process. The initial purchase of a property has always taken advantage of the social aspect, whether that be through the opinions of family and friends, sharing home models, or visiting showrooms together. The capabilities of new technology allow all of these components to converge to livestreaming, with the added bonus of allowing loved ones to chime in with a perspective despite living at a distance. Since most property investments have a substantial emotional aspect, enthusiasts can now see the effect it has on their loved ones and depend on this part of the sale to be a success. Brands now have to ensure that purchasing or experiencing a service from them utilizes live videos to its fullest potential so as to keep in step with the future tendencies of consumers.

3. Choosing the Right Live Streaming Service

First, there is Blab. It looks set to become quite popular around the world and there is no extra effort involved in live streaming from it straight onto Twitter. Periscope is well connected to Twitter, but a major weakness is that it does not have an analytics dashboard yet. The same can be said for Facebook which has just launched a live streaming service within its platform. Until it natively allows live streaming from the desktop, or until third-party apps create the possibility of going live from a laptop, it will always be more tedious to live stream to Facebook. It is going to be difficult waiting for YouTube Connect to launch as it’s going to be the most powerful platform of them all. If it will have a scheduling function and allow for copyright take down during a live stream, it’s going to make life a lot easier for broadcasters having legal concerns and those looking for a more polished finish.

It is still relatively the Wild West when it comes to the use of these live streaming tools. Few people have given much thought to using them for marketing outside China. Anyone seriously interested in using live streaming for brand-building in Singapore needs to keep an eye on a few important options.

3.1. Factors to Consider

To engage your audience, make sure you’ve got the following factors right: something to talk about; something fun, funny or playful; something authentic. Prepare to run your live video for at least 15 minutes or more. Ensure that the room’s lighting is decent and invest in some dedicated lighting fixtures if necessary (if you’re selling a product, show it off in a properly lit room!). Ensure your internet connection is good. Do a speed test through the WiFi speed test app, which is available for Apple and Android devices and ideally, have a hard-wired internet connection to prevent any downtime during a live streaming event. Be sure to frame your device to show your face and any action that the viewer needs to see simultaneously.

Singapore has one of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates, with 85% of our population owning one. To harness the opportunity to reach audiences for a lower cost compared to producing a TV commercial or even running a social media campaign, webcams (and smartphones for the less tech-savvy) are inexpensive and can be utilized to create videos to engage your audience and showcase products live. In essence, if there is content available online, it’s going to appeal to an audience across various platforms and it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be perfect for you.

3.2. Comparison of Popular Platforms

  1. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Twitter Live are generally similar. 2. Facebook Live and Instagram Live campaigns tend to be shorter and may cater better to trendy content, while Twitter Live gives a content distribution advantage. 3. Advantages of short-form for consumers could perhaps be countered by TikTok’s variant of Live feature. 4. YouTube Live and Vimeo Live genres are generally longer in nature, especially for niche businesses. As a starting point, it will be insightful for the researchers to observe differences in levels and patterns of engagement. 5. The top categories are of a general nature, such as music, gaming, lifestyle, etc. 6. Countries of origin relate to the user’s discounting effectiveness that the locality places. But the index number for Ricebowl Singapore clearly shows that the platform ranks Singaporean interests. 7. D2C is a category of lesser presence. Given the excellent transport and financial infrastructures, combined with an informed and digitally matured consumer base, however, Singapore’s location does promise strong discovery potential.

Figure 3.2 compares the nine live streaming platforms. Four factors were considered: audience engagement, campaign duration, top categories, and international popularity. Key observations include:

4. Crafting Engaging Live Streaming Content

Marketers will have to adopt some sensible video content promotion strategies to tap the benefits of corporate videos. The transition from high-quality content crafted by pros in studios to regular video uploads lets brands leverage visually-driven social platforms to deliver their rich multimedia content. But marketers can and perhaps will have to raise the game with live streaming. This way, they can edge out regular user-generated content and even compete with the most compelling TV shows. Broadcasting a live streaming video will put Singaporean marketers a step ahead of regular visual content. They can become the only source of exclusive new video content, surrounding their product releases or announcements with the energy that live video brings.

Cisco projects that live streaming will bring in 13 times more daily web traffic by 2021. This represents a lot of customers for Singaporean marketers. Brands have taken calls for content seriously. They anchor many of their content marketing strategies around social media platforms. In the same way, personal engagement strategies are built upon Facebook and Twitter chat sessions. As live streaming picks up, video content strategies for brands also will have to include live streaming.

4.1. Content Strategy and Planning

A live streaming event’s content, as opined by scripture, a live streaming audience doesn’t seek to watch advertisements that don’t address their needs. They want to engage with appealing, interesting, fun content that fulfills their need for emotional or intellectual stimulation or excitement. These factors lead to a more memorable and engaging streaming viewing experience, which also fosters the potential for long-term brand loyalty. Successful streaming protagonists must also ensure that there is a very close, tight pairing of consistent branding messages that are succinctly communicated in line with the needs and desires of the target market.

Content strategy and planning are arguably the most important aspect of a successful live streaming event. Good content that is tailored for your audience’s interest and carefully planned to not only entertain but also excite and provide additional value to stream viewers is what will drive the success of your event. Done correctly, planned content is key to increasing your brand’s appeal to potential viewers and creating a more interesting and engaging event as well. Anticipating the needs and desires of your viewing audience, preparing one’s hosts, and planning the type of “feels” or “hype” that you want to convey in line with what content viewers crave is a vital part of a superior streaming experience.

4.2. Interactive Features and Audience Engagement

Such competitions can either come from the brand or the KOLs themselves, as even well-made competitions can, at the end of the day, promote not just the event but also the platform where the live stream is happening. Ultimately, the goal is to increase the engagement to make the platform more attractive. While the quiz and giveaways must be a broad show format feature, to increase the content promotion ensure the KOLs create comparison or bring effectiveness in both the call to action (CTA) and the chat, involving a broad range of questions in different kinds of contests.

While live chatting and conducting Q&A are usual features that most of the live streaming services provide, they may not be sufficient to engage the audience within a 6- to 10-hour live streaming. According to the practical insights from KOLs, they find it crucial to conduct simple quizzes with giveaways to keep the audience interactive. Not only can this maintain the hype around the live stream, but it also helps ascertain the people who are truly engaged. It can also push the genuinely interested users to the platform to engage and interact. These regular quizzes can also lead to in-game purchases, especially due to the fear of missing out (FOMO), where the users hastily buy the shown item or service in demand.

5. Measuring Success and ROI

– Live viewers represent the success of your live broadcast. Live views are any views on your live video happening while live. They give you a point-in-time analysis of how your live video is doing right now. It’s especially useful in combination with concurrent views. In light of meaningful discussions about the importance of online reach and engagement, the ability to measure the effectiveness of live streaming content as a marketer becomes crucial as part of any social media strategy.

Reach and Audience:

– VOD playback time is considered the VOD analog to live viewer duration for a VOD video. Like live viewing time, it represents the total amount of time viewers spent tuning into your video. However, it also gives you a sense of audience retention as well as content popularity. The higher the percentage of engagement vs views, the more successful your video is.

Viewing Time:

– Post-live engagement is a very good indicator of your video’s popularity. It accumulates around 80% of all post-live comments and reactions. In addition, post-live viewing time is twice as long as live viewing time. In short, it keeps engagement high long after your video has gone off the air. By making the most of your post-live engagement, you can maintain momentum around future live events as well as create growth in viewership for on-demand video content.

Engagement:

When it comes to defining and measuring success, success is dependent on the objectives that marketers set out to achieve. For most businesses, whether large or small, in any industry, they will be looking for business growth and operational efficiency.

5.1. Key Metrics to Track

Measuring live stream performance becomes important because the content is produced in the moment. There are three key types of metrics to track, namely attention, affection, and advocacy. The first group of metrics involves an understanding of how many people are watching the live stream, how long they are watching, peak and average audience size. The second group involves understanding how many people make comments, how many people answer quizzes or polls, and other forms of engagement. Ideally, this group is important to businesses who want to help shape public perception and bring about social change. The final category addresses the number of people who take actions before, during, and after the live stream. These include the number of people who watch different parts of the live video, the number of people who lovingly share the content, and the number of people who advocate and become champions about a particular topic or issue being brought up on the live stream.

Given the challenges associated with the attention span that a live stream captures, it becomes crucial to focus on the right metrics to track how people reacted to the content. Importantly, companies need to track the same metrics, as the right platform should not be given much weightage. The main goal is not the influencer’s performance, but whether we are charting a journey to engage, motivate, and encourage trust with the viewer. Yet, very few businesses and teams sit down to evaluate whether the metrics are cost-effective indicators of customer interest and engagement. Zuckerberg said it best in his February 2017 letter to the shareholders: “One of our big focus areas for 2017 is to build out the systems and tools to be an ecosystem for high-quality video content.” For marketers in Singapore, the long-term growth of Facebook as a video-first or live streaming-first platform entails additional emphasis on the right strategy and metrics, ensuring that the investments are well-aligned.

5.2. Case Studies and Best Practices

Moreover, Viya actively uses “item highlights,” which zoom in on the main selling point of her products and lists down the unique selling points of each item to cater to a wider target audience. For example, how to use a hand warmer to help your house cat produce more heat and the benefits of a specific beauty product. She also performs live demonstrations such as using lipstick on her male co-host to prove that a specific lipstick will not be easily removed. Consequently, brands that have worked closely with Viya include international and local beauty product companies, who have experienced a surge in both online and offline sales.

According to Terry Law, one of the main challenges marketers face when engaging in live streaming is disorganization. In order to cater to potential viewers, professional live streaming hosts will begin drumming up hype and publicizing their live streams 15 days in advance and then gather interested viewers on various social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube a day before the event. In fact, one well-known live streaming host, Viya 在线直播秀, makes use of pre-countdown live broadcasting 5-10 minutes before her live streaming events and managed to successfully attract over 500 thousand viewers and completed over 500 transactions in her May 17th, 2018 live streaming event, which featured a Spiderman-themed pizza. Other similar live streaming engagements by Viya include the use of real-time lucky draws for her loyal fans.

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