The Concise Live-streaming Playbook

The world is expecting 82% of the internet traffic generated through video streaming in 2020. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity in your marketing. But live streaming is not easy, a professional livestream cannot be just a smartphone, a ring light, and then point and shoot. As the experiential agency behind the Google’s livestream, after numerous hours spent on research and even more hours spent for trial and error to design the Google’s livestream content, we certainly know how to make a good video show work. This livestream playbook will walk you through our experience of how to plan and produce a professional live-streaming event.

Think small for your big show

First of all, adjust your mindset. Even you have a big idea, the space and the attention given to you on livestream are tiny. The majority of your target audience are most likely to watch livestream on a mobile device. You do not have a big screen estate to capture their attention. So, bear in mind that you are designing the content for mobile screen, not for a big stage.

As a business, adopting livestream in your marketing communication can be very effective because 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video than read a blog. To begin planning a livestream for your business, follow the marketing rule of thumb: Be On-Brand. With the limit screen estate, you need to think of how to present your brand assets side by side with the speaker in a right proportion. Also, think of your livestream event as a product placement marketing, in which your brand and products are featured in the content that targets a large audience. Almost everything can be branded in your livestream including the mic!

Planning a livestream or a pre-recorded video stream are very different. To manage a livestream is actually similar to planning an event. You have at least two timelines to manage: (1) content design (2)  tech & event logistics.

Remember, when you are live-streaming your business, you are reaching out to your target audience on a small screen. So, be on-brand, simple and concise, let go of the clutter.

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A digital steroid for sales

We also designed a social commerce livestream event for the cosmetic brand Make Up For Ever in Shanghai (eventually we couldn’t launch the show because of the covid-19 lockdown). The experience of preparing the show was truly mind-blowing. In China, live-streaming is taking over the whole digital space. Business in China, particularly the b2c sector, are fully adopting live-streaming as a point of sales. Live-streaming in China is like a digital steroid booster for the TV home shopping network in the past. The pace and the reach are way faster and wider to trigger the pulse of the shoppers.

Live streaming is actually a perfect hybrid in marketing. The Make Up For Ever show was planned as a livestream event at a shopping mall. The goal was to engage the footfall at the mall while amplifying the product message over the web via live-streaming. The design aspects combined all the digital and spatial elements for a show. Besides the usual event planning, we also developed a screenplay to connect the content on the ground to the audience in the digital space. Imagining a consumer journey like this will be all over the marketing touch points and is truly 360° degrees on-ground and online. Not to mention with the KOL effect to drive the social commerce, the outcome can be very rewarding!

It is important to set the stage

Your stage of a live-streaming event is essentially the online media and you probably only have a few choices.

To understand which media should be chosen for your livestream, we have collected some statistics for you:

 

In May 2019, YouTube Live videos were watched for 284 hours. This was a monthly record for YouTube.

Non-gaming content has been a major growth driver for Twitch representing 11% of the hours watched in December 2019 compared to 8% in December 2018.

In Q2 of 2019, Twitch users watch 2.9 trillion hours of live content.

Twitch is actually bigger than YouTube and over 50% viewers are Asian. Twitch is predominantly for the eSport content.

70% of consumers prefer to watch live video on YouTube over other platforms.

In Q1 2020, Twitter hosted more than 1,200 live-streamed events.

Facebook Live Stream saw a 330% increase in searches between 2016 and 2018.

One in five Facebook videos is a live broadcast.

The number of livestream users reached 560 million in China as of March of 2020 accounts for 62% of the country’s total number of internet users.

The number of people watching livestreaming e-commerce events in China had reached 265 million in March 2020.

In Feb 2020, Taobao live saw a rise of 110% in user numbers.

In China, other than the market’s key live-streaming players such as Tmall, WeChat, Weibo, the growing star is Bilibili which is the number 1 online entertainment platform for the Gen Z in China.

Furthermore, not all the video streaming media provide live-streaming service. If you are planning a livestream event in Singapore or Hong Kong, you probably do it on YouTube or Facebook for the reach and visibility reasons. And then different video streaming media have different requirement for streaming the content. As a wise choice for good result and quality, you might want to talk to an experienced agency like Mills who can strategize a plan to produce your livestream event.

Embracing the new Phygital era

The marketing paradigm has once again shifted for customers and brands. You can see from the above Google trend, less and less people are interested in search engine and then live-streaming is far more popular than social media. If digital marketing plays an important part in your marketing mix, then to move along with the trend of live-streaming seems to be wise.

See Also  If content is King, then data is God

At Mills, we continue to improve our capability of the livestream production. We can customize different scenes and themes at our studio in Hong Kong and Shanghai to suit different marketing and branding livestream events. We believe live-streaming has created a movement in marketing. It fills the gap in the marketing journey between on-ground and online. As an experiential agency, we are very fond of producing livestream event because it elevates our creativity. For marketers, live-streaming has a lot of untapped potentials to improve the return on marketing spending.

The future of marketing looks good. We pledge to commit our creativity to make it even better.

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If content is King, then data is God

Digital marketing is nothing new, but still not a big leap forward. The question of how digital marketing works has been irrelevant for years. It is not about how it works, but more on how to do it right? At Mills, we have a unique approach for digital marketing.

In digital marketing, content is the King, data is GOD.

Take a look at a chart of the HubSpot state of the marketing report 2019 (see above). Nowadays, with all these channels in marketing, we need two skills to practice our work: (1) content skill (2) data skill.

Here is our thought for content. Everything on social media is about content and mainly the short and snackable content. The world is now left with only a few-seconds attention span. The content consumption behavior has been changed from reading to glancing, and now may be just a few seconds of screen swiping.

  • The average attention span is 8.25 seconds (less than the attention span of a goldfish), compared to 15 years ago, the average attention span was slightly longer at 12 seconds.
  • 17% of the website pageviews last less than 4 seconds, and only 4% last more than 10 minutes.
  • The average percentage of words read on a single web page is about 28%.
  • Internet videos seem to be more captivating with the users spend an average of 2.7 minutes per video.

You should find your audience before engaging them with content

As an experiential agency, we totally understand that it takes great effort to produce content. But with a wrong match of the audience who give only a few seconds of their attention, the effort to engage will be in vain to produce any meaningful outcome. It is true that good content can create attention, but what if you can know the audience’s interest or intent before creating the content to grab their attention? Does it sound like a better strategy?

Mills has a unique data crunching approach to research for interest and intent. Our client Kering Group came to us for a digital landscape research before they developed their marketing content.

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Of course we can’t reveal the client’s data, but we can still show you our approach and methodology.

Too many data, too little source.

It isn’t difficult to find data but not many channels that you can find the legit data sources. Good data is priceless, rubbish data can be toxic. Data add a scientific layer to marketing. With the correct data, you will be benefited from making the informed decision.

But good data is a scarcity. Too many people claim to have data but in fact most of the insights developed through the bad data are superficial, if not worse, it distorts the result. Most people will turn to the search engine and social media for data. These two channels are indeed useful, one for the intent-based data, the other is good for persona.

Some DMP and the data on-boarding companies are able to provide you the advance programmatic data solutions. But if you just want to develop a landscape of your market or establish a baseline to validate your marketing campaign, etc., using a DMP might be a bit overkill.

A holistic approach for your digital landscape.

While you are screening and classifying the data, you should also come up with a structure for your data views.

This is one of the models that we are using to develop a digital brand insight. It gives a very concise but holistic perspective of your brand landscape with different views for interest and intent.

  1. Start with the market, look at the brand equity with the data distribution.
  2. Establish a benchmark with the TOMA – Top of mind awareness.
  3. Create a market drill-down for segments.
  4. Craft a digital persona of your audience.
  5. Profile your competitors.

There are always things that you don’t know you know

Data discovery is way more interesting than data reporting. Why do you pay for the insight that you already know? Your marketing will not be benefited from the conventional wisdom. At Mills, because of our DNA as a creative agency, we like to discover new horizon. In fact, it is much more fun and invaluable to discover new insight instead of reporting the same old.

In our experience, with the digital Gen Z taking over the economy and they are eligible to vote for what to do and how to live, digital marketing needs a new face to communicate for new perspective. We no longer push or shout to our customers without knowing what they need; instead, co-creation is the key to resonate with them. And the winning strategy for content co-creation is to discover things that we don’t know we know.

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Design For Google

Google is our first client since day zero before we even thought of what our future would be. Our story with Google is about courage, hard work, and persistence.

Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying

Our first design for Google was the Google flagship experience – the China’s Google Developer Days (GDD) in 2017.  It took us six months to finish the aesthetic design. GDD in China is equivalent to the Google I/O in the US. It is a market barometer for technology. Our inspiration was to give tech a playful character. Why not organize a play day for the geeks?

Think With Google

The success of GDD brought us to another milestone design for Google in China. We started working on a Google’s b2b experience – Think With Google. In an effort to position Google as a thought leader, the Think With Google is a Google’s brand for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research. Think With Google talks to the marketers about how digital marketing works. The consideration of the design aesthetics is to amplify the professional essence and the applications of the Google technology, but not overkill when telling the story of how tech works in a creative way.

Design for the future of Google

Google is no stranger to design. To design for Google, it is important to understand the Google’s design philosophy – the material design, a visual language that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation of technology and science. We were given a mission to design an important branding style guide for the future of Google – the TensorFlow.

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TensorFlow was developed by the Google Brain team initially for research purpose only. Today TensorFlow is the most famous machine learning technology in the world. To design a communication style guide for TensorFlow, we put adaptability in the first priority. Our belief is that any styling guideline must be produced to fulfill a practical purpose. A styling guideline is a document that can be used to help build and identify your brand as well as the language used to communicate your brand. It is a document that anyone could pick up, look through, and fully understand your brand.

Till today

It is a fruitful journey to work for a professional client who can challenge your wisdom and grow the knowledge together. Our relationship with Google continues to evolve, until today, we have been producing so many aesthetics for Google from spatial to experiential, brand styling to the best practice playbook, on-ground to online. This agency-client relationship is still going strong after three years and we are learning new things every time when we work together. We feel so much for the design that we’ve done together with Google. At the end, we realize, we don’t just design things that look good, we create wisdom made visible.

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It is your website, not your ego

Many website contents are compiled with ego. I can easily tell by reading their short meta title with only the brand name.

Using the brand name as the keyword is not a problem. But what if a brand name is an acronym such as CVS, ACE, BYOD? It can be irrelevant to the actual product. In some cases, I’ve even seen all the pages of a website use the same brand keyword as the meta title which is obviously a mistake. That’s why I always suggest using functional keywords or product attribution keywords to write the meta titles and the contents.

No fancy

A complicated menu navigation not only confuses your viewers, but also creates difficulty for search engines.

To understand how search engine works is not difficult. Google has given a hint that the search engine crawlers actually follow links on the web pages. Think about what is the starting point of a web experience? Very likely we start navigating a website from the menu. 99 out of 100 websites have the menu navigation placed above the fold where we want to catch the visitors’ attention. But a fancy website design such as the one-page design with complex style scripting will make the website difficult for the search engines to follow and index the links on the page. Unless your technical team know exactly what they are doing, for example, using the hash tag with the pushstate correctly, I still suggest making your navigation as clean and simple as possible.

Guess which page is the most important page of your website?

I know the answer. The most important page cannot be only the homepage. Look closer. Do you think your contact-us page shouldn’t be more important than the about-us? If you cannot differentiate the content objective between these pages, then same as the search engines. They will be as confused as the human being.

SEO has evolved from competing the ranking to the website development best practice. Now SEO is actually content marketing. A portion of SEO practice is still very much linked to the technical aspects such as hosting, web server configuration, CMS configuration, etc. But the most important aspect of the SEO is content relevance.

SEO cannot influence people how to search

That’s why it is very important that you must do keywords research because it can identify the trend and intent for you. With all the data that a search engine can provide, you can develop a semantic profile to analyze the searchers’ behavior. As a marketer, you should always do this without SEO on your mind. Researching how people search is like reading the minds of your customers. Once you know what are your customers looking for, you can develop the relevant content for them.

Truth be told, you don’t need sophisticated SEO technique to understand how basic marketing works.