This morning, Star Wars fans woke up bleary eyed after tuning in to the first part of the franchise’s 30-hour, four day streaming extravaganza, which kicked off yesterday. Live streaming is all the rage at the moment and it’s easy to jump on board. But as Admiral Ackbar said – “it’s a trap”. Here are five tips to help avoid the live stream marketing Death Star.
“Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, farm boy.”
Live content can easily be terrible. Most (with a few notable exceptions from brands) of what we’ve seen on the live streaming apps de jour, Meerkat and Periscope, has been poor quality content that no-one in their might mind would opt in to watch. The Star Wars live stream is pre-planned, well publicised and professionally executed. They extended it to cinemas so that fans in other countries could get together and celebrate the event. They didn’t just rock up on the day with their iPhone and hope for the best.
“Search your feelings.”
Live streaming will work better for some products than others - is yours really right for it? There’s always going to be demand for unveiling a new luxury car or a revolutionary piece of technology from a cult brand. There needs to be a high level of anticipation from the online community. Star Wars has this nailed, with probably the most obsessive fan base on the planet. A live stream was always going to work for them.
"Don't get technical with me... you'll be malfunctioning in a day, you near-sighted scrap pile."
Anticipate the technical issues. When Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch via a live stream in last year, Twitter was full of complaints about the quality of the feed – or lack of it altogether. This was the first Apple event with its live blog, and reportedly, updating the page may have caused the live stream to fail. The Star Wars stream so far seems to be running without any major issues. Perhaps they didn’t have the same level of demand in such a short period of time, perhaps they were better prepared, but either way, it’s a much more satisfying experience for fans.
“You’ll find I’m full of surprises!”
Give something away. Even Star Wars, with its massive global fanbase, needed to offer something of value to a community that is obsessed with seeing content ‘first’. Ahead of the event, J.J. Abrams promised the trailer would live stream yesterday at the opening day of the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim – and when it came to the big reveal, people at home didn’t have to watch a crowd watching a big screen in a convention centre: it cut to the trailer itself. If you wanted to see it before all the other Star Wars fans, you had to tune in.
“STAY ON TARGET.”
We know the Star Wars audience is fanatical about the brand. They are also (sweeping generalisation alert), tech savvy for the most part. They are going to be online and they’ll be ready and willing to tune into hours of content to get closer to the brand. Not all target audiences are happy to sit in front of a screen for such a prolonged period of time (if at all). This, plus all the above factors, will determine whether you should live stream at all and if so, how long you should do it for. Unless the force of the audience is with you, a live stream is a wasted investment.
Hopefully this will help marketers decide whether live streaming is a worthwhile option for them. As Lord Vader said a long time ago "You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule."
Tom Ollerton is marketing director of We Are Social