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One can see social media flooded with informative, entertaining and light-hearted conversations between consumers and brands, even more in these times when people are looking out for experiential and engaging content online. 

Coming to the rescue is branded live streaming experiences, which requires a fraction of ad spends compared to traditional ads or even recorded branded content. Live content also delivers a deep engagement with consumers.

According to Emarketer, the Q1 2020 Digital Video Trends report published on March 30, 2020, says since January 2020, there has been a 9X increase in tweets about virtual events. In fact, in 2020 alone, nearly 50% internet users are expected to live-stream content. LinkedIn data shows that 82% of audiences prefer seeing live-streams from brands than regular social posts, and 45% of senior leaders are considering a more permanent shift to virtual events and conferences.

In the first part, we discussed how brands are jumping on to the live streaming bandwagon during the pandemic, the advantages of live content over recorded, and how can one make sure to maximise audience presence to watch a brand’s live content at any given point.

In the second part, explores the things to keep in mind while creating live content, how to market it, the scope of live content in the future and how brand-friendly are social media platforms for live streaming.

Key points to keep in mind before you jump on to the live-streaming bandwagon

While all have understood that content has become the king in this ‘new normal’, creating branded live content is the best form of maximising engagement through content. Brands creating live content are not something new, but in these times, when every other brand is trying to do live streaming, it is of utmost importance that one makes least mistakes to stand out in the clutter through good content quality.

Live content comes with its own set of challenges. Unlike pre-recorded content where the host has a whole army of people, including a director, a production unit to organise the set, scripting, sound, light and most importantly prompts during the show, to keep you on track; the host of a live content stream is a one-person army who needs to take care of everything from content, to tech checks, manage host and audience interactions during the programming.

Suveer Bajaj

Suveer Bajaj, Co-Founder, Zoo Media and Foxymoron, said, “Since retakes are not an option, it’s essential for a host to have a strong ability to multitask and be organised. I would advise that one has their visual cues, music, time stamps planned beforehand. Additionally ensuring details like your and your guest’s internet bandwidth are working glitch-free, phones kept on DND, lighting is bright, sound quality is audible and clear are basics but essential to delivering a successful ‘Live’.”

Juhi Mehta

Live content is appealing because it gives the experience of watching something in raw form. Therefore, brands must not miss out on this point. Juhi Mehta, President, Head of Brand Sales, Qyuki Digital Media and Super KOL Commerce, said, “A heavily branded live stream distracts the audience from their primary objective, which is content consumption; a much more subtle approach is required for branded live content to avoid alienating the audience.”

Jayen Mehta

Times have come when brands are tying their content initiatives with performance marketing, but one must not forget to align it with the purpose that is beneficial for the audience. Jayen Mehta, Senior General Manager, Planning and Marketing, GCMMF (Amul), believes, “The content should interest your audience more than who is creating it. If it matches interests, then it will work like magic. Along with keeping the consumers’ interest in mind, doing it consistently without trying to sell itself matters equally.”

Aradhika Mehta

Aradhika Mehta, General Manager, Brand Marketing,, suggested brands must do consumer research before zeroing on the session topic for live streaming. She said, “The audience will only be glued to the conversation if there is a riveting storyline behind it. Before the session, the brand must gather suggestions from the viewers to secure their interest.”

Adding to Mehta’s point, an Asian Paints spokesperson suggested that live streaming should be done in an episodic manner. There needs to be a structure for your live content. It needs to be streamed in an episodic way so that people remember the time and day of its streaming. “Also, before streaming live content, announcement posts and shoutouts should be created to let the audience know details about what's in store for them.”

Karan Shroff

One critical aspect of live streaming is to market your marketing activity well and to keep it engaging throughout the process. “To attract more viewers, brands must promote the sessions well in time across various platforms. The session should be interactive, minimally scripted, hence utilising the full extent of a live session. The host should take as many questions as possible and keep the live sessions real to provide an interactive and personal experience,” said Karan Shroff, Vice-President, Marketing, Unacademy.

Collaborating with the right influencers/content creators to interact with the audience during live streamings also helps to increase the audience base. “This will also give you access to a broader audience. Working with a credible influencer leads to audiences paying more attention to the brand's communication, commented Asian Paints spokesperson.

Bajaj suggested that the countdown option available across most platforms helps create hype and excitement too. The brands must also put out posts and publish ‘stories’ while the live is on-going; it helps create more awareness.

Filtering comments on live will help to maintain the hygiene of the content

Pawan Sarda

So many times, it happens that people start posting unwanted random comments on the live video, which not just hampers the brand’s image but also disrupts the audience’s experience of the content consumption. Pawan Sarda, Group Head, Digital, Future Group, said there is a huge possibility of such things to happen when one is doing it at scale and it is open for the audience to write anything, but if your content is right, people don’t do it themselves.

Foxymoron’s Bajaj added to Sarda’s point and said the community of people watching the content plays a vital role in maintaining the comments section. “The loyalty of the community plays an active role in keeping the feed positive, upholding the brand’s best interests by proactively responding to trolls and discouraging their behaviour, sometimes even requesting them to leave if they aren’t particularly enjoying it. It is essential that the host, guest or moderator not be provoked by trolls and keep their focus in putting out a good show.”

Last year, YouTube updated its policies and had enabled a feature to report or put abusive comments on hold for review or hide such comments from the comments section. Instagram allows third-party moderators to monitor their feed and highlight questions to the host that may have been missed. Facebook has curbed this well as the host gets multiple options to pre-select not only who but how the comment section can be accessed, with options like restricting it to followers only, or allowing comments once every 10 seconds, among others.


The point to note here is that the real purpose for social media platforms is to be two-way communication and sometimes that means taking the good with the bad. Gurpreet Singh, Head Marketing, United Breweries, said, “Brands need to be prepared for it and be okay with this to succeed in this initiative of theirs. It also means taking constant feedback from the audience to keep delivering better experiences.”    

Live content is here not just to stay but grow

Once production work goes back to normal, would the marketers’ love for live-streaming reduce? Bajaj of Foxymoron said, “When production does go back to normal, and people won’t have as much self-indulgent time, we’ll have to wait and watch how this format evolves. Maybe they’ll evolve into vodcasts but more likely than not; it will be passed over for more dynamic on-demand content, only because they can be programmed so much better.”

Live streaming format is not just another buzzword that brands are latching on to in the short term. UB Group’s Singh says, “While I believe that trends come and go, live content is certainly a trend that is here to stay and will probably see a higher rise in the number of brands to get on the bandwagon. It is open to a lot of innovation, and I’m sure with the kind of technology at our disposal, we will be able to make live content far more engaging and interactive to keep fans and consumers interested.”

Mehta of Lenskart seconded, “The consumption of live content has increased manifold owing to increased screen time during the national lockdown, undoubtedly. As the unprecedented times pass, viewers will gradually resume their previous lives and media consumption habits; however, the impact shall continue in some form or other. And some of the perceived benefits of live sessions will continue to be in demand, whether through such sessions itself or in another form.”

Which social media platform is more brand-friendly for live content?

Qyuki’s Mehta told that Instagram and Facebook are the most engaging platforms for live content with view growth increasing 37% in the last two weeks of March as compared to the two weeks prior in terms of live views as well as all views for the video after the live stream. Although, she added, “Each platform has its pros and cons, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy that works.”

Facebook and YouTube have over a billion active users and doing live content on these platforms open the gate to reach out to the maximum audience. Each platform caters to a specific audience, which is why a brand needs to do a ‘Live’ only on platforms where most of their pre-existing audience is.

Bajaj said, “Facebook is great for small and large businesses and provides excellent in-depth performance analytics reports. It helps that the videos get saved automatically on the page, allowing for more views to garner, even after the Live. On the other hand, YouTube allows live streaming only if your channel is verified and has more than 1,000 followers.”

Instagram is very brand-friendly in terms of ease of linking business goals with the content. With one billion active monthly users on Instagram, the platform makes for a great choice for live content. As per reports, a user spends an average of 53 minutes per day on the platform. The time spent is a strong indicator of an engaging platform.

The digital agency Kinnect’s spokesperson said, “The platforms also increase networking and partnership opportunities that allow brands to acquire quality backlinks and increase business opportunities. And engaged users are more likely to be interested in the brand’s content. Combined with the daily login statistics, Instagram’s live content is only projected to grow.”

Instagram has released key features like making live accessible through the web browser last month and is currently testing IGTV Live to simulcast with FB Live, which will be an excellent way for brands to reach a larger audience.

Understanding the need of the hour, In October 2019, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Events globally, and in March 2020, the platform enabled companies to create an event via their LinkedIn Pages. LinkedIn launched an integrated virtual events solution with events, pages, and live that allows companies to build a more personalised online event experience for their audiences.