How Live Streaming Builds ROI

There’s an episode of The Office in which Michael Scott is invited to Dunder Mifflin’s re-branding party by his protégé-turned-boss, Ryan—or so he thinks. It turns out that ‘password’ wasn’t the name of a trendy new club, and the invitation was for Michael to teleconference in at the live event. He wasn’t too happy about this, but things ultimately worked out for Michael, and not so much for Ryan.

Sitcoms aside, investing in live streaming has proven to be beneficial for many businesses, especially in terms of return-on-investment: one could even say that it literally ends up paying for itself. This works in a number of different ways. Some are obvious and instant, such as using pay-per-view, paywalls, or advertising. Others are more long-term, like money saved by communicating with employees without having to travel without making things impersonal. Lastly, some are abstract in the sense that they provide rich user experiences which result in brand recognition beyond traditional methods of marketing, and good marketing is what makes consumers more likely to purchase products and services.

In short, live video supports businesses by providing ROI. Let’s look at some statistics:

  • 40% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year (Digitell)
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Vidyard)
  • Businesses using video grow 49% faster than organizations without video (Aberdeen Group)
  • 52% of marketing pros/marketers worldwide** name video as the type of content with the best ROI (HubSpot)
  • 73% of B2B marketing professionals say that video has positively impacted marketing results (Reel SEO)
  • 74% of marketers say video produces more conversions than other content (Vidyard)
  • Enjoyment of video increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139% (Unruly)

Now, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of live streaming? The likely answer is live events. Streaming live events is a method of visual storytelling which allows consumers to interact with your brand, making them more likely to engage with it in the future. Product releases are one of the main ways that companies use live event streaming, but with a subscription to a great live streaming platform, it can be used literally any time your company or organization wishes to communicate with the general public with an unlimited potential reach.

Consider the wild popularity of Fashion Week. The world of high fashion used to be inaccessible to many. In 2009, Alexander McQueen made the decision to livestream his Spring/Summer 2010 show at New York Fashion Week. It racked up 3.5 million views on YouTube, and next year, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, and Alexander Wang (among others) followed suit. Natalie Okupniak, executive producer of B Productions, believes this happened because brands began to see the potential of live streaming as a marketing event rather than just a trade vent. And she’s right—Russel Quy, president of B Productions’ streaming division, stated that they collect data, such as which looks were most popular in which countries as well as email addresses collected through live stream access portals, and bring that data back to brands. Marc Jacobs and Rebecca Minkoff make use of these tactics, which work even if you’re not a major fashion house.

Live streaming can also prove effective for employees of a brand and can be used to train company newcomers. Microsoft is one of many brands who have invested in video training for their employees, and in doing so, they claim to have avoided annual costs of $13.9 million, a ROI of over 500% on their investment in the training system. And they aren’t the only ones: thousands of companies have seen cost reductions by using live video for corporate communications. This includes meetings, presentations, proposals, conferences, and more. In a 2014 case study by Streaming Media, Eric Hards, manager of digital media services at Lockheed Martin, estimated that they were able to save $100,000 per live event. This is coming from an estimated travel cost of around $2,000 for each attendee of a two-day, minus the cost of facilities. Think about the savings!

Last but not least, the most obvious method: charging people to watch your video content. This can be done by using a streaming platform that offers pay-per-view or paywall options. Simply put, viewers can only access your stream upon payment. There are other methods, such as selling ad monetization or offering a subscription service.