You’re running late in the morning, and want to grab an iced coffee and a quick breakfast to go. If you’re on the East coast and aren’t a huge fan of the Starbucks on every block, you might consider Dunkin’ Donuts (sorry, California). Although donuts may not be huge among millennials—it’s more about cronuts these days—Dunkin’ Donuts has taken advantage of visual media to appeal to those who would rather spend time online than on line. Of course, they hit the big four: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, but they also took to campaigning on platforms like Snapchat and Periscope, all of which have live video features. In 2015, they collaborated with Spotify to host a concert series, which was live streamed on its website and saw success in both driving traffic to the site and selling iced coffee. In another instance, Dunkin’ Donuts live streamed the creation of a donut-themed wedding cake, calling it a test kitchen or sorts, which attracted more than 36,000—all of whom were just watching a cake being baked.
Another brand that has found success in incorporating live streaming into digital marketing is Adidas. Its #ThereWillBeHaters campaign started in March 2015 with a live video of James Rodriguez, famed Real Madrid and Colombian national team player, in which he signed a contract extension with the brand. Adidas also hosted similar campaigns with the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Luis Suarez, launching a live stream of the #ThereWillBeHaters short film that same month.
You know the deal. It started in a garage in Cupertino. Many, many black turtlenecks and white sneakers later, Apple has made its mark as one of the most successful tech innovators ever—in fact, it’s one of the top ten largest companies in the world. As of 2016, their quarterly revenue averaged $46.9 billion. How can one begin to explain Apple’s explosive success and the massive, almost cult-like following it has today? One of the reasons is buzz. Twice a year, they host a live product release that is streamed globally. It attracts millions of viewers, of course. More importantly, it generates the kind of buzz needed to give a product a cracking head start and cutthroat edge in the market, making it a prime example of how the manufacturing of excitement brings tangible results.
Remember how BuzzFeed once live streamed a video of some highly qualified fruit scientists exploring how many rubber bands it takes to make a watermelon burst? At the time, it was the most tuned in live video on Facebook and had racked up over 807,000 viewers at its peak. For those who are curious, it took 45 minutes of rubber band wrapping to make the big melon explode. Why on Earth would someone watch a 45-minute stream of this? In one word, momentum. The other 44 minutes of video were leading up to that moment, building tension all throughout, keeping viewers interested. BuzzFeed isn’t a traditional business that would reap the benefits of launching new products or services on live video, so they rely on advertising and creating fun, exciting, in-the-moment content like this. Clearly, something about this just works: the video now has over 10 million views.
Al-Jazeera, one of the most respected sources of (real, not “fake”) news, has utilized video streaming—one of the first news corporations to do so—to stand out among the others in terms of both reach and efficiency. Of the 270 million or so homes around the world that Al-Jazeera reaches, a fairly large number of those are through free online streaming. While this may not seem revolutionary in and of itself, their innovative use of streaming on social media has streamlined the way we get our news—for the better.
Even if you haven’t heard of Tastemade, you’ve probably seen it before, and it chances are that it has made you hungry. Tastemade is an online publication that centers on everything food, from recipes to vlogs to video tutorials on cooking miniature versions of real food. No, really–the Tiny Kitchen series, which consists of using teeny-tiny ingredients to make a real meal, is one of the most successful video ventures from the brand to date. A live version of this series gathered more than 3 million views. Since then, the brand has been exploring live video more and more as a way of drawing social media traffic and engaging with viewers. By doing so, Tastemade combines the visual appeal of food with the immediate appeal of live video, with the end result being something highly watchable that speaks to viewers’ hearts (and stomachs).
In July 2015, multinational corporation GE launched its #DRONEWEEK campaign. No, it’s not what it sounds like—more U.S. drone strikes devastating the Middle East—but it does involve the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles. The GE-engineered drones’ cameras connected to a live broadcast of things like interviews with GE scientists and tours of their different facilities across the country, as well as showcasing of their machinery. The drones flew from coast to coast, and #DRONEWEEK earned a reputation as “Shark Week for science and social video nerds”. GE upped the fan appeal by creating a drone Twitter account to interact with viewers. Once again, a brand successfully married social media and visual digital marketing with the use of live video streaming.