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Why Live Video Is Stealing Your Audience

Brands try all sorts of ways to reach audiences. In recent years, web video has been a favorite. Now even that choice has a competitor that could be stealing your younger viewers: live video.

Live video is on the rise.

Live video has been around for a while, but it’s only now becoming mainstream. Recent data indicates that live video has begun to outperform prerecorded online video, with audiences spending three times longer on live videos and commenting 10 times more.(1) And live video has proven particularly engaging for young audiences, with more than half of people under age 35 reporting that they have watched a live stream.(2)

It’s metrics like these that have caused major tech companies to scramble to expand their live video offerings, including Google (through YouTube), Twitter (through Periscope), Amazon.com (through Twitch), and Facebook (through Facebook Live and Instagram Live). Some also are changing their algorithms to optimize for live video. These factors combined are having a powerful reinforcing effect on live video’s popularity, bringing increasing numbers of viewers to live video streams.

The allure of live video

Live video is attractive to today’s young consumers who lead largely digital lives and who rank sharing, spontaneity, curiosity, and authenticity as key values.(3) Here’s why it appeals:

It’s authentic. Live video feels more real to skeptical young consumers than heavily edited, produced video. For brands, live video can feel risky, since it opens the door to on-camera snafus—but that vulnerability is exactly what appeals to young viewers. It’s proof that the people behind the videos they’re watching are human.

It’s immediate. Live video feels urgent to FOMO-obsessed young consumers (“FOMO” stands for “fear of missing out.”). It makes little difference if consumers tune in to a prerecorded video now or later, but live video is an experience they have to be there to experience.

It’s engaging. Live video allows real-time feedback from consumers, changing a broadcast from a one-way communication to a two-way conversation. Users can chat with one another or even with the people shooting the video, providing their questions, comments, and reactions. This adds an extra layer of engagement to the video experience, which draws in young people.

Four tips for better live video

Okay, so you’re sold on live video as an opportunity for your brand to connect and engage with younger consumers. How do you get started?

1. Host Q&A sessions. Host live-streamed question-and-answer sessions with your customers. Answer their questions, and ask them yours. It’s a great way to stay in touch, gather valuable feedback about your brand, and even to handle customer service. Plus, any questions or issues raised in the streams can help guide your future content.

2. Give behind-the-scenes looks. A product launch, a new executive hire, a special event—all are potential occasions to create live video. It’s an easy way to build immediate buzz and the equivalent of giving people a free backstage pass, showing your audience the people behind your brand.

3. Provide how-tos. Show people how your product or service works. Demonstrations feel much more real and believable if they’re live, plus they let you field common questions as you take people through a process.

4. Interview influencers. Allow your audience to talk with important influencers for your brand or thought leaders in your field. This exclusive access to people whose opinions they respect will help build interest in and value for your brand.

Of course, GLG is always here to help. Whether it’s identifying the right channel to reach your target audience or creating compelling content at a cost that’s right for your business, we will partner with your brand to take advantage of the right marketing opportunities—including live video.



1. Caroline Golum, “62 Must-Know Live Video Streaming Statistics,” Livestream website, https://livestream.com/blog/62-must-know-stats-live-video-streaming.
2. “US Live Video 2017: Still Buffering,” eMarketer Report, February 16, 2017, https://www.emarketer.com/Report/US-Live-Video-2017-Still-Buffering/2001989.
3. ”Watching You Watching Me,” CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, April 21, 2015, https://iconoculture.cebglobal.com/SMART/Content/View.aspx?ContentID=403919.