Social media livestreaming is an amazing thing. The fact that people can – on a whim – start broadcasting their activities to pretty much anyone interested in watching is a game changer. And something that was unimaginable just a short time ago.
However, free streaming is not suitable for every purpose. And way too many organisations invest huge amounts of time and money on their production, only to then put it straight onto Facebook or Youtube without a second thought.
Here are 7 good reasons why you should resist the temptation to go that way – and choose a more professional (and potentially more profitable) route instead.
1. Lack of Guaranteed Availability
So you’ve put some valuable content together, and you’re going to livestream it. Maybe it’s something exciting like a concert. Something of societal value like a local government meeting. Or something educational like a webinar. Whatever it is, it’s taken a lot of time, money and effort to realise.
Yet having done all that, your plan is then to simply livestream it via Facebook, and hope it all works out okay.
Professional broadcasters don’t leave it to chance. They know the value of guaranteed uptime, and they choose their livestreaming technology accordingly.
Specifically, they make sure their chosen service makes use of a redundant origin server. So that they have at least one separate, independent uplink to a secondary origin server in case the main source goes down. Thus ensuring transmission continuity whatever should happen.
If your stream has any value to you – indeed, if your audience has any value to you – then you should consider doing the same.
2. Lack of Guaranteed Service Options
Social media streaming is appealing because it’s so quick and easy to use. But why is that? It’s because it’s automated – there’s no one sitting there, setting the whole thing up for you. A few clicks of the mouse and it’s there, online.
This is fine so long as everything is running smoothly, but what about when things go wrong?
Your event transmission may be special to you, but to Facebook or YouTube it’s just one of many thousands happening on their site at any given time. So if your feed fails, or even there are technical problems on your side (after all, it may not be immediately obvious where the problem is), there’s no-one there poised and ready to help.
The chances of you finding someone at the Social Media company with the same sense of urgency to fix the problem as you are slim to none. You’re at the whim of your own knowledge, and your skills with Google search.
You’ve already made a significant investment in bringing your production to air. So go the rest of the way and invest in a professional streaming platform that offers you the level of support needed to do justice to your efforts.
3. Lack of access control
The whole point of using social media is to disseminate content as widely and simply as possible, without worrying about things like access control.
This is fine if you’re a cat owner livestreaming your pet eating its dinner. It’s less fine if you’re a company addressing its employees. A bank broadcasting internal training to thousands of locations. Or a university serving up a paid course to its students.
In these – and many other occasions – there’s a good chance you’re going to want to restrict access to a particular set of people.
But if you want proper control with full granularity of access, you’re going to need to step away from the free social media platforms – and take a more professional route.
Many webinar systems secure their feed merely by having a private, unprotected link – something which is way too easy to discover in the underlying HTML. Anyone can copy the link and paste it in an email to a friend, in a tweet, on a forum – whatever. In other words, this is not real control, it’s merely the illusion of control.
Professional grade streaming uses secure tokens at the streaming server and CDN level to ensure that only the intended individuals will have access to a service. And the users can’t just share the link and credentials with anyone. Such a stream received with an unique link can’t be viewed on any computer except the one that received it first. This is the route we recommend.
4. It’s the World’s Most Distracting Environment
When was the last time you went on Facebook, performed the task you intended to, and then simply logged off again?
Facebook (and others social media sites) are distracting by their very nature. Articles with enticing headlines flash by while all manner of other notifications light up with a ping, all imploring the user to click elsewhere.
How long can you expect to hold a person’s interest? Even if they’re genuinely interested in your content, they’re never more than a single distracted moment away from clicking elsewhere.
But here’s the thing – you can choose not to serve up your content into this flurry of competing content, flashing lights and ringing bells.
How? The answer is to broadcast via an embedded player on your own website. That way, you gain direct control of that which surrounds your content, which can be whatever you like, such as information relating to your brand.
5. You Miss Out on Monetisation
When you stream via social media platforms, you’re allowing them to dictate terms. Facebook and YouTube regulations prohibit the use of user-added advertising, meaning you can’t make money from your own choice of sponsors.
And if you do try to slip some of your own advertising in, the transmission can be disconnected without notice. Which is not a desirable situation, either for you or your sponsors.
So what’s the answer?
By using a paid streaming platform, you can insert your own choice of advertising at any time, on terms agreed entirely between you and your sponsors. This includes pre-roll video – integrated with your own adserver through VAST – and even the hosting of adverts on your own webpage in the case of an embedded player.
6. You Miss Out on Pay Per View
Advertising isn’t the only monetisation option you’re not making the most of.
Streaming a conference – or other unique content – means you can sell digital access to people with an interest in your content, but who can’t (or don’t want to) be there in person. This is potentially a much bigger market than just those interested in attending in person.
It also allows you to create a tiered pricing strategy, which you can then leverage in whichever way you choose.
In short, if you have content people are willing to pay for, and which is unavailable elsewhere, you should consider a professional live-streaming option. You get to monetise your content, and your viewers get to see something they wouldn’t otherwise see. Everyone’s happy.
7. Your Audience isn’t on Your Domain
Your website is your organisation’s digital home. It’s quite literally your domain – the place where all the action relating to your organisation happens. The place where you possibly already spend time and money trying to attracting people in other ways,
When you livestream via social media, you’re leading your audience away from your domain. You’re passing the flow of control to a third party, and giving away the viewer’s attention on the cheap. You’re also losing control of the information surrounding your streamed content.
Stream via an embedded player on your website, however, and all that changes. You get to keep your viewers on your own territory, and you get much more control over their viewing experience, including the information around the player.
But You Don’t Have to Miss Out On Social Media Completely…
If social media livestreaming is important to your strategy, you can still incoporate it into your plans.
For a start, professional grade streaming allows you to re-stream to Facebook, YouTube and so on should you wish to.
On top of that, there are also ways you can use social media as a teaser to draw your users in. For instance, you can stream a short trailer (e.g. the first 10 minutes of the event) with a link to the Pay-Per-View option on your website.
Social media live streaming is a fascinating and useful tool, and one that’s being used to great effect by a lot of different people.
But it’s not always the answer, so if you’re a professional you should think twice – and then think again – before using it, and avoid falling into it simply as a default.
At Nadaje Broadcasting, we fulfill all of the functions required for professional-grade livestreaming. 1) We safeguard you availability of service by using redundant infrastructure. 2) We offer full support during tests before and transmission, and can help you avoid problems before they appear. 3) We enable you to implement full, granular access control, quickly and easily. 4) We enable you to control the viewer’s environment far more effectively with facebook, thereby keeping distraction to a minimum. 5) We give you back control over your advertising options, whether it be via pre-roll advertising, web page adverts around an embedded server. 6) We provide the possibility of Pay Per View, allowing you to extend your monetisation options even further. 7) We allow you to keep your viewers on your domain, instead of pushing them away elsewhere.