Pew Research estimates that 72 percent of Americans own a smart phone. The rising popularity, sophistication and ease of use have granted social media influencers the opportunity to share updates from anywhere—leading to a major growth in the livestreaming phenomenon.
Fans “stream” to live broadcasts for fear of missing out and the opportunity to interact in real-time with someone they admire. For influencers, this opportunity offers far more than a boost in self-esteem. In fact, livestreaming can offer a major boost to the bank account, as well.
Today’s top influencers turn to livestreaming sites like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook to grow their audiences and earn a living talking about what they love. While many rely on subscriptions or affiliate marketing to earn, there is a rise in the ability to have your income directly reflect a user’s popularity. Twitch is rolling out a new system where viewers can earn, purchase and spend virtual currency to reward streamers or bet on a game’s outcome. Broadcast app, YouNow says $1.5 million passes through the site’s tip jars every month and that it pays out over 50 percent of that to the partners who raised the money.
Live.ly, another streaming app offers microtransactions for which its stars earn fifty percent. “You can make a living on this,” Live.ly star, Bart Baker told Variety. “The kids on this platform really they feel connected to you. When people see me drinking a Starbucks on Live.ly, they go to Starbucks and order the same drink.” Baker claims to have earned as much as $30,000 in revenue from about a dozen live streams on the platform.
With the holiday season creeping up on us, more and more consumers will turn to their favorite social media stars for product recommendations. In fact, HubSpot reports that 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
So, how do brands get noticed on social? Brands reap the benefits of going live, as well, from The New York Times on Facebook Live to Tesla streaming the debut of its Model 3 from their own website. Even Popeye’s got in on the fun with a Facebook livestream for National Fried Chicken Day and recently, Carl’s Jr. acted out live commercial breaks during a Twitch livestream for Vice. TV personality, Al Roker believes in livestream efforts so much that he created an entire network around the idea.
Partnering with influencers serves to strengthen livestream efforts, particularly when it comes to cross-promotion—keeping content relevant and visible across an already passionate audience. When choosing a livestream platform, the ability to archive or repurpose live content is a must. Some livestream solutions like Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram Stories wipe out content after a day, while traditional content lives on to provide long-term value even after an initial campaign passes. Keeping this in mind, marketers will need to scale efforts across different platforms with a specific demographic in mind for maximum exposure.