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Opinion: Finding the right fit for livestreaming advertising and mitigating brand safety risk

Opinion: Finding the right fit for livestreaming advertising and mitigating brand safety risk

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Livestreaming has been used increasingly across the world. From the adrenaline of watching Sir Richard Brandson fly to space, to catching renowned YouTuber PewDiePie play games on livestreams, few things beat what is happening live right now.

In Asia, there is an uptick of live streaming viewership, especially in verticals such as eCommerce and eSports gaming. Some brands have leveraged livestreaming formats to unveil a new product, such as Ford with its all-electric F-150 Lightning truck, or a rebrand such as Singapore’s popular YouTube channel Night Owl Cinematics.

YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook are all looking to increase their share of the streaming pie, and cultivate greater integration with global commerce platforms and ad networks. In one such partnership, media platform Teads now supports YouTube and Twitch livestreaming links in its ad units.

Livestreaming may not be the right fit for every brand in every market. However, according to Essence’s recent research on social commerce across 11 global markets, 85% of survey respondents who had a live streaming experience on a social platform said that they were likely to purchase from social channels in the future. While consumers are increasingly positive about the experience, some brands remain cautious due to brand safety concerns.

Mitigating brand safety risk

Brands will never have 100% control over a livestream - there might be negative comments in the live chat, or expletives and unscripted commentary that are uttered by the streamer. Of course, risks can be mitigated in a few ways:

  • Advertisers can limit investment to a predefined inclusion list of streamers and channels that pose minimal risk as determined by reviewing streamers and their conduct across past activities.
  • Brands can start experimenting with the limited spaces that have brand safety capabilities via third-party partners like DoubleVerify, as is the case for select YouTube gaming channels.
  • Brands can have some degree of control over live comments through the use of moderation tools, such as deleting or hiding comments, holding potentially inappropriate live chat messages for review, and allowing comments from followers and subscribers only.

But despite community guidelines and any pre-agreed code of conduct, there is some element of risk that brands will need to come to terms with.

Finding the right fit

In finding the right streamers and channels, beyond brand safety, ads should be authentic and relevant for their audiences to be most effective. A test-and-learn approach with new channels and formats still requires a clear goal and rationale. For gaming companies, advertising on a gaming channel is fairly intuitive, and while product-to-stream fit may not be quite so obvious for all advertisers, it is equally important to get it right.

Getting started

So, once an advertiser has cleared the hurdles of aligning on the goals and risk tolerance for a livestreaming campaign, how can they get started? As opposed to a branded video that goes viral and is shared across social media after the event, livestreaming is all about getting audiences to tune in live. There are a couple of ways to do this:

a) Create a livestream event through key media platforms, depending on where target audiences can be found. The key to a good livestream is engaging content - something that will lead audiences to take action.

  • ECommerce: For eCommerce platforms, tactics can include prize giveaways with countdowns throughout the livestream and invitations to influencers for guest appearances.
  • Gaming: For game streaming platforms, consider special effects which game streamers make use of in their livestreams, such as automatically triggering virtual confetti when a new member joins. Music artists can collaborate with these platforms to promote their work in-game by holding a virtual concert and releasing themed game experiences and downloads.

For any type of livestreaming content, it is crucial to raise awareness leading up to the livestream to build excitement. This can be done with pre-registration or save-the-date communications strategies.

b) Pay to be part of a live streaming experience, whether passively or actively:

  • Passive: Programme ads to target audiences during a livestream, whether in the form of pre-roll or mid-roll videos. These can be bought on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Active: Sponsor streamers’ apparel or equipment. This sponsorship tactic is used by gaming chair brand, Secretlab, and gaming monitor brand, Prism+, for many YouTube and Twitch influencers. In addition, streamers can be paid directly to read out a script or personalised message to promote a brand or product during live streams, similar to some podcast ads.

Repurposing live stream content for the future

Whichever route a brand takes, one often overlooked best practice is to extend the shelf life of live stream content by adapting the video into teaser marketing messages for future live streams or video content. It is a good way to maximise production budget and brand love. Candid interactions between a brand and viewers can make video ads more engaging and help promote brand authenticity.

The long game

Live streaming has the ability to draw attention very quickly to its real-time content. Yet, at the same time, it is crucial to keep content engaging throughout the live stream to avoid high drop-off. Marketers should weigh the pros and cons of exploring this format in their media strategy, as live streaming is a format that is here to stay.

The writer is Charlene Tan, associate media activation director, APAC at Essence.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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