The Science Of Live Videos And The Art of Getting It Right

  • Enitan Kehinde

Watching Andrea Bocelli live, on Sunday, April 12, 2020, was so surreal!

But what made it even more special was watching it with my grandpa!

You see, my 80-year-old grandfather is the absolute king of swank and growing up around him, I fell in love with some of what have now become my favourite things … red wine, croissants, cheese platters, jazz and of course the opera, so it was a blessing sharing the live concert with him.

My colleague shared the link to the concert with me and I hurriedly sent it to my grandpa. It was a wonderful experience to share in our love for Andrea Bocelli’s music even though we were miles apart.

And that’s the reality of the world today.

Now more than ever, the world is turning to technology to stay connected. This is as a result of the global pandemic which has forced human beings across the world to keep their distance from one another.

And with features like calls, videos, photos, games and of course, live streams, things like social distancing are now a breeze.

Live videos have especially become very popular but the phenomenon didn’t start today.

With platforms like Livestream (launched in 2007) and YouTube Live (launched in 2008) who first introduced us to the world of live videos online and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, LinkedIn and others introducing the Live feature to their apps, the successful element has come to stay.

In Andrea Bocelli’s case, Italy has had over 155,000 confirmed cases and almost 20,000 deaths, and the world-renowned opera singer used a live video to bring people together, spreading the message of hope. Hosted on YouTube, the Live video had 2.8 million peak concurrent viewers, according to YouTube and yielded over 26million views in less than 24 hours.

Where the message has been to cure boredom and engage with fans, musicians like Tory Lanez and FalzTheBahdGuy have proven that Live really does work. Tory, for example, has broken Instagram Live records, reaching over 350,000 views, at a time, and even launching merchandise for his Instagram Live-based show, Quarantine Radio. For these celebrities, Live videos have become a platform to engage with fans, showcase their art and bring people together for the fun of it.

Beyond pop-culture, one of my favourite pastors, Pastor Poju Oyemade, about two weeks ago, started a live series. One of the sessions with Reverend Sam Adeyemi, which focused on leadership, the pandemic and the state of the country, recorded thousands of views.

But why are brands not getting it right?

Why are brands not getting as many eyeballs as the pop-culture and faith-based “influencers”?

I have found myself joining a number of live videos initiated by brands, and even with the presence of a brand ambassador, celebrity, artist or DJ, the numbers were not impressive.

What could be the reason for this?

To find the answers, we have to dig deep into the reason why Live videos are successful in the first place:

  • Spontaneity: I mistakenly stumbled on one of Nigerian Instagram comedian, Father DMW (Muhammadu Abdulai) and London-based Ugandan model, Eva Apio’s live videos and I found it to be hilarious, very off-the-cuff and easy.
    What started off as a random live talent show hosted by Eva has yielded as much as 50,000 views, at a time, with Nigerian celebrities like Alex Iwobi, Don Jazzy, Ebuka and Adekunle Gold, tuned in.

So, how do we get our live videos to be the centre of interest, to be shared by thousands and to be the most talked-about?

Here’s a clue — Find that one thing that people care about, that one thing that’ll make them use all the data that they would have otherwise saved, and no it is not your brand or your ambassadors.

If unplanned videos work, how do we make our videos to be just as random, not too branded but just as interesting?

That’s the question. And I hope as brand custodians we can take a learning or two from the masters of influence — celebrities, artists, actors and socialites amongst others.

A key thing to note though is that this season is not about your brands but about your consumers. It is more about bringing people together and giving them something to find interesting and engaging.

I can’t wait to see what brand eventually breaks the cycle of the uninteresting brand-related live videos.

I’ll be on the lookout!

P.S. I think I speak for everyone when I say we’ve had enough of random live videos. Live videos are not a must-do! Don’t be a me-too. Be distinct!



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