30% of people who watch an event on live stream will later attend the event
If you’re not already live streaming your events, you’re missing a trick.
Nearly a third of people who tune in at home will end up coming to your events in the future. A pretty impressive ROI, wouldn’t you say?
Despite this, a lot of event organizers are still nervous about incorporating live streaming. Frankly, they’re right to be. While live streaming can be an amazing way to broaden your reach and engage future attendees, it also means that hundreds, thousands or even millions more people can witness anything that goes wrong at your event.
Let’s take a look at how live streaming works, how to perfect it and what you need to think about if you decide to incorporate it into your event.
What is Live Streaming?
Put simply, live streaming means broadcasting video over the internet, live to an audience. That means, of course, that you can’t edit as you go - although you can live mix, i.e. cutting between different camera angles, if you have the right technology.
Depending on how you deliver it, you can also combine live streaming with audience interaction elements such as live chat.
Why is It Such a Useful Marketing Tool?
When it’s done well, live streaming simultaneously makes the viewer feel like they’re in the room and shows them what they’re missing. In other words, you see just how incredible the performances are, and you get a sense of the atmosphere and thrill of being present at the event. If it works, the person will want to make sure that next time, they’ll get a ticket to be at your festival or event in person.
Getting this balance right is very tricky. You want to focus on the onstage acts, of course, but generally, you also need to show plenty of the audience and venue to communicate the buzz of being there. Otherwise, there’s a risk that people at home may feel like they got a decent enough experience without paying to be there, which is not a particularly useful marketing tool!
Bear in mind that audience members aren’t performers, which makes this harder. You want to pick shots of the crowd where people are excited, dancing, laughing and generally having a great time. More on that in a moment.
What Technology Do You Need?
In theory, all you need to live stream is an internet-enabled device capable of recording audio and video, such as a smartphone. That said, you do want to make sure you get the production values as great as possible, especially when it comes to sound - and especially if you’re broadcasting live music.
As mentioned above, a single camera angle generally won’t cut it. Remember that this is all happening live, so you only have one shot to get it right… and if you only have one camera shot, you’re almost guaranteed to get some dud moments. On the other hand, if you have a few cameras set up, that gives you plenty of chances to nail a great shot at all times.
For example, you might want a static wide shot that covers the whole stage, some manned cameras capturing close-ups of individual performers, and a roving camera for audience shots. Not that you will need some kind of live video switcher/mixing desk to monitor each camera feed and cut between which one you want the audience to see at any given moment.
From there, you can choose to stream through a dedicated app or platform, or straight to YouTube, Facebook or any another social media site that supports live video.
How Does This Pile On the Pressure?
Live broadcasting of any kind can be enormously stressful. You have to power and handle multiple cameras, microphones and auxiliary equipment. You’re entirely reliant on a stable internet connection. If anything goes wrong, you can’t stop the show and wait to get back online or to switch to backup power. It’s live, and as Walter from The Big Lebowski puts it, life does not stop and start at your convenience.
What’s more, live streaming means it’s even more important that nothing goes wrong with the event itself. Sure, it’s a nightmare when a technical hiccup causes a delay at your festival, but if everyone there is having a great time and they can go grab another beer or keep chatting to their friends for an extra 20 minutes, they’ll probably forget all about it by tomorrow.
If, on the other hand, someone sitting at home on their own tunes in to a particular performance and all they see is a big old technical meltdown, they’ll probably get bored after a few minutes and go watch Netflix instead. If it all looks too unprofessional, it could even put them off splashing out on a ticket for your event in the future.
What Happens if Things Go Wrong?
This isn’t a hypothetical scenario. At the famous music festival Ultra 2019, right before Armin Van Buuren’s set was about to be live-streamed, the power cut. The festival had, in fact, encountered a whole bunch of power management issues and delays like this and many attendees were getting frustrated by this point.
Rather than a FOMO-inspiring festival experience, anyone checking in to the live stream at that moment would have seen a) a blackout or b) a disgruntled crowd. Not a great outcome for organizers looking to market Ultra 2020.
All of this makes it absolutely vital that nothing goes wrong with your utilities or festival infrastructure while live streaming is underway. Obviously, you don’t want power failures or other technical problems anyway, but live streaming magnifies the problem.
Always make sure that your power supply is up to scratch, your generators are sized right and that you have a top-notch backup solution in place. The worst possible time to get complacent is when you’re broadcasting live to next year’s potential attendees.