Why brands need to reinvent media spend to include live video

Festival of Marketing 2015: Internet star Matt Adlard, otherwise known as The Topless Baker, has urged brands to rethink media spend to include live streaming over traditional channels such as print and TV even though he admits the platform won’t hit any hard KPIs.

Live streaming expert and Periscope star Alex Pettitt runs top tips for brands
Live streaming expert and Periscope star Alex Pettitt runs top tips for brands

Live streaming platforms that allow users to broadcast live video, such as Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, have attracted some attention from brands testing the social channels.

The first brand to trial Periscope was Red Bull when it first launched earlier this year and other brands such as H&M, Spotify and Ministry of Sound followed suit to launch their own channels and sponsored content.

Although the user numbers are rising, with Periscope hitting 10 million and 2 million for Meerkat, the return on investment for brands using the channels is hard to quantify, according to two of the platforms’ stars.

Speaking at the Festival of Marketing in London today, Adlard says: “From a traditional marketers point of view, you’ll be used to reporting hard KPIs to the boss, a number of likes or an engagement rate. You need to be prepared that when you go into live streaming you won’t have that to deliver.”

Instead Adlard, who is also a planner at agency OMD, told delegates that they need to be bold in adopting live streaming and be able to say activity had 10,000 people watching it and 500 comments as “those will be the only metrics you’ll be able to report”.

He said: “Don’t look at those short term KPIs, you need to look at the long term and how you are building your brand for your audience.”

Alex Pettitt, live streaming expert and Periscope star, echoed Adlard’s comments and claimed that Perisocpe’s statistics “are not necessarily the most accurate thing in the world” and that today the the “KPIs are quite loose”.

He said: “It’s more for brand to experiment with the technology and the most important thing is the engagement the platforms have.”

Pettitt said using live streaming achieves “real time engagement” and for a brand “it’s like nothing ever before”. He recalls a product demo for a technology client where he showcased the product and users were asking questions straightaway – with the brand on board to ensure those got answered in real time.

It’s this real time element and engagement that Adlard claims should be taking spend from traditional channels. He said: “To use live streaming you need to be bold, brave and you need to be able to say, ‘I’m going to reinvent 5-10% of my media spend and I’m going to take that to live streaming’.

“You need to reinvent that money. It’s not going to provide you with millions of viewers and the reach you will get from TV, you need to be prepared for that in terms of expectation, but you can learn so much about the audience that you won’t learn from TV or a print ad.”

The credibility of the video star you use was also up for discussion due to the importance for brands of working with influencers on live streaming sites that know the platform and can provide some level of authenticity.

Of the many brands that have approached Pettitt to collaborate he claimed he has said no to about 90% of them because they did not fit in with his technology background. He said: “It should be a 50/50 split of the leg work between brands and broadcaster, the broadcaster shouldn’t work with anyone that doesn’t fit their users and equally the brand shouldn’t work with someone just because they have a high following.”

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