How Influencers Can Run a Successful Virtual Event

Virtual events just might be the most powerful tool an influencer has in their arsenal.

These events create opportunities for new followers, lucrative sponsorship deals, and even direct revenue.

Of course, they have the biggest impact when done well.

What to consider when planning a virtual event

Live video in the influencer space tends to be best received when it’s not overly scripted.

Audiences like to feel that their favorite personalities are being genuine and approachable. Because of this, a lot of influencers underplan their virtual events.

This is a big mistake. Virtual events are something extraordinary, something outside the normal run of operations. It takes planning for things to run smoothly enough that the audience feels the event was worth their time and attention.

Here’s a few things to consider:

Live streaming is a low-investment technology, but there are still costs involved.

With the added production value necessary for special events, those costs may be higher.

Influencers need to decide how they’re paying for their event in order to create a budget. Depending on what technology is being used, there are a few ways to generate income from a live event.

The most common are ticket sales, ad revenue, premium levels, and direct business sponsorships. Choose based on what the goal of the event is (attracting new followers, moving an audience from social media to a custom platform, generating revenue, and so on).

As discussed before, virtual events are special. There needs to be something different to generate excitement among viewers.

This could be:

Whatever it is, make sure that it’s both on brand and something extra to bring in curious viewers.

Don’t write a complete script, but do have a thoughtful series of events that makes audiences log out feeling satisfied.

Audience participation and a sense of community are among the biggest draws of live video.

Don’t forget to leave room for viewer interaction.

There are limited options on social media (mainly live chats) but influencers who own their own platform can use live chats plus custom emoji and reacts, boosted comments, linked Discords, inset viewer reactions screens for those asking questions, and anything else they have set up on their platform.

The best virtual events give attendees something they can take away from the event.

This might be as simple as an exclusive early download of newly released content or a badge displayed by their name on the influencer’s platform.

Decide whether and when the virtual event will be available for those who don’t watch live.

It’s tempting to make events exclusively live, but that does limit the event’s reach and impact to a certain extent.

The best technology for virtual events

Most social media platforms have some kind of live streaming feature that can be used for a live event, but the best technology will always be one the influencer owns.

Having a custom content platform gives influencers more options for running successful virtual events.

It also helps avoid technical disruptions while gathering valuable data on audiences’ preferences that can be leveraged across all platforms.

Final thoughts

The most important thing influencers can do is to evaluate virtual events after they’ve ended.

Look at what worked and what didn’t, and make adjustments when planning the next event.

FanHero has set up virtual events for influencers in sports, music, fitness, and many other areas. If you’re an influencer looking to incorporate virtual events into your content strategy, let us show you why we’re the right partner for you!

Turn Your YouTube Channel into A Video On Demand Platform

In a growing market of video on demand platform, YouTube has been working to keep up.

It’s still a good option for those just starting to build an audience, but issues with consistent monetization have caused bigger creators to view it as more of a marketing strategy than a primary income source.

That’s not to say creators can’t make money on YouTube. The company has developed a decent set of tools to help creators make money while building an audience.

One option which is gaining popularity is using channel memberships.

Channel memberships were created as a sponsorship program. Fans set up a recurring donation to their favorite creators, and in return they get more access.

Although it’s not the original purpose, using channel memberships wisely can be a low-stress path to creating a lightweight VOD platform.

Who can use YouTube channel memberships?

YouTube set up stricter requirements for channel memberships than for basic monetization.

In order to launch channel memberships, a channel must:

How do YouTube channel memberships work?

Channel memberships have a similar structure to those found on custom VOD platforms.

Channel owners define different membership levels, each of which have access to a separate set of content.

Right now there are 5 tiers available, though most creators only use 2 (a “members only” level and a “premium” level). As far as content goes, there are several perks creators can offer to tempt subscribers into buying a membership.

Exclusive videos and live streams

Once a creator has launched a channel membership program, they have the option to any of their content viewable to members only.

Even old videos can be restricted (though this can upset basic channel subscribers, so it should only be done sparingly).

“Members only” community posts

If there’s one thing fans love, it’s being “in the know”. Use these community posts to break exciting news, or just share a little more with dedicated channel fans.

As a side benefit, the comments and engagement on these posts can help creators judge what resonates most strongly with their premium audiences.

Channel badges and emoji

This is an often overlooked benefit, and it shouldn’t be.

Fans like to be recognized for their loyalty, and they enjoy having a way to casually share that. Custom emoji sets can also be used to play off fandom “in jokes”, which builds a deeper sense of community.

Channel owners don’t get the entire membership fee, but the share isn’t too bad. YouTube takes 30% of each membership. 

The platform is also offering their YouTube Premium subscribers a free channel membership every month (which creators get paid for!).

That gives potential subscribers a way to try out the premium features. Subscribers do have to re-select their channel membership every month which makes it hard for creators to rely on that income.

Still, having a month to win new members is a nice side benefit.

Is there a downside to using channel memberships?

As simple as YouTube channel memberships are to set up, they do come with some significant limitations.

For one thing, YouTube isn’t set up to prioritize any one creator. It does drop videos from a channel membership into the viewer’s feed, but those videos can get lost in a flood of other subscriptions.

Plus, the YouTube algorithm is designed to encourage viewers to skip between channels and explore different content. That’s a problem for creators whose audience is constantly being pulled off their channel by suggested videos.

Possibly the biggest problem is a lack of available data.

YouTube shares some metrics with channel owners, but they pick and choose which and often keep the most valuable data for themselves.

Creators need that data. It helps them segment their audience to get better sponsors and find the content that resonates with their fans.

What options are out there if YouTube isn’t enough?

Turning your YouTube channel into a video on demand platform is a good intermediate step for growing creators. It’s even a nice side revenue stream.

At some point, though, creators outgrow that option.

Dealing with the structural and financial limitations of YouTube becomes frustrating, and they find that trying to work with a one-size-fits-all solution like YouTube is limiting their growth.

That’s the point where creators start to look at launching a dedicated video on demand platform.

Evolving technology has brought startup costs to a practical level, and owning the platform provides full data transparency while holding the audience’s attention.

In short, cutting out the middleman puts creators in the driver’s seat – and it’s much easier to get where you’re going when you’re the one behind the wheel.

 

If you’re ready to grow into your own video on demand platform, FanHero can help. Let us build a custom VOD platform with you and your audience in mind! 

Why a Live Streaming Strategy is a Must-Have in 2020

If there’s one thing content creators should be doing right now to grow their brand, live streaming is it.

That isn’t just hype. A solid live streaming strategy is a low-risk way for creators to grow their audience and boost their income.

Live Streaming to Build An Audience

It might sound strange that live streaming can help new fans find a channel.

After all, if they catch the live stream they’ve already found the channel, right? As it turns out, there’s more to the situation.

Google (and other search engines) give pages with frequent live video more weight over pages with recorded video or just blog posts.

Social media platforms do the same thing. Facebook in particular prioritizes live video when suggesting new pages. More importantly, live streaming can hold people’s attention like no other media.

67% of global internet users watch live content, and 47% are watching more than they were last year. 

The main reason is novelty. Since live streams happen in real time, they feel more exciting.

Viewers can’t click past without missing something, so they pause to watch for a few minutes. Creators have the chance to win those viewers over.

They have an advantage, too: people connect with live video. 82% of viewers prefer live video content over static social posts, even from branded video. Live video generates 3x the engagement of other video types.

Maximizing Revenue with Live Streaming

Back in 2016 the live streaming market was predicted to surpass $70 billion by 2021.

Between recent events and changing technology that number will almost certainly be low. The live streaming sector has grown by 99% over where it was last year.

Creators can tap into that growth in different ways. One is through exclusive paid content.

45% of consumers are willing to pay for exclusive live content, and nearly 70% of those who join a live stream buy a ticket to a follow-on event when offered.

Conversions are another source of revenue. Video viewers are more than twice as likely to click through to check out the rest of the creator’s page, and they stay six times longer than otherwise.

Once they’re there, they’re in a mood to buy. 40% of consumers state live video increases the chance they’ll purchase a product.

The Big Picture

Taken as a whole, these statistics form a compelling argument for live streaming.

It isn’t just a matter of thriving anymore. It’s necessary for survival in today’s competitive media scene.

Creators who don’t live stream are effectively falling behind their peers, even if their video quality and views stay the same.

Are you ready to explore live streaming? Let us help you put your best foot forward!

How Your Fitness Platform Can Compete with Free Health Content

Sometimes it feels like there’s a ton of free fitness content standing between you and your customers.

Don’t worry! Free content might seem like a threat, but it isn’t a replacement for a paid fitness platform.

With a few tweaks coaches can attract users to their own fitness platform – and keep them.

Step 1: Know your worth

The public is willing to pay for quality fitness content.

More people are using online fitness systems than last year, but they aren’t sticking with free sites. The majority of users experiment with free content before giving up.

What’s the hang-up? For most people, free content is too loose and disorganized. They don’t get the results they want, and eventually start looking for a more structured system.

That’s why premium fitness platforms are on the rise, even with free content out there.

The global fitness app market is valued at $3.15 billion in 2019, and experts expect it to reach $15.96 billion by 2026. Doctors are on your side, too. 93% of doctors would recommend fitness and wellness apps to improve health.

Step 2: Refine your onboarding strategy

Prioritize an easy-to-navigate user interface that helps users create a regular fitness plan, then nudges them towards conversion from free membership to paid subscription.

Don’t jump the gun, though! 1 in 4 people who stop using an app do so after just one use. Reduce that churn by making it easy and fun to get started with your platform.

Have a good selection of basic videos and routine-planning content available for anyone who downloads the app. Teasers of popular premium content are a good way to encourage a free trial subscription.

Be sure there’s enough content uploaded that users can’t go through it within the trial period; users should be so excited by the content that they subscribe to keep access to it.

Don’t forget to include features that drive re-engagement with the app:

Step 3: Have a clear progression path but provide variety

Users should know how to advance through the app as they improve.

Have clear indicators of when to switch to a higher skill level, such as weight limits, rep counts, or minutes holding a pose.

Don’t railroad users into a single track, though. Have skill-focused videos at increasing levels so users can decide what they want to improve next.

This also keeps them from getting bored or frustrated if they have trouble in one area.

Step 4: Leverage technology for an innovative experience 

Trying to replicate studio classes isn’t the most productive way to use a custom fitness platform.

Take advantage of what the technology can do.

On top of streaming video on demand (SVOD), include innovative features like:

Premium fitness platforms are growing for a reason.

They give people a portable, entertaining way to get the results they need, wherever they happen to be.

Set up your own custom platform and give those frustrated free content users the structure they need to succeed!

4 Reasons You Should Be Live Streaming Your Worship Services

As community faith leaders start to incorporate technology into their practices, one innovation has been generating a lot of interest: live streaming.

Live streaming religious services provides an economical path to building a larger, more connected audience- without losing the personal touch.

Here are four reasons your religious organization should look into live streaming:

1. Attract new members live streaming worship services

Newcomers to an area often look online to explore nearby houses of worship.

This isn’t news to most faith leaders; most organizations have their own websites or even blogs. What might be surprising is the effect live content has on search engine optimization.

Regular live content boosts an organization’s SEO ratings, making it easier for new members to find. This is especially important considering that only 25% of people even look at the second page of search results.

As an added benefit, live streamed services offer a low-risk way for people to “test drive” the service.

It gives them a sense of familiarity that can make them more comfortable attending in person.

2. Provide an uninterrupted ministry

Life is complicated, and sometimes members can’t attend services for a week or two.

Often it’s for a good reason:

The problem is, one absence can lead to a longer pattern of erratic attendance, or even a break with the organization.

Live streamed services provide uninterrupted contact with members who can’t attend personally, helping them to feel comfortable staying in the community.

3. Support underserved demographics

There are three heavily underserved demographics across faith groups: younger generations, members with disabilities, and smaller areas without a diverse selection of faith-based communities.

Attendance at worship services is low and has been going down among younger demographics. Millennials and Gen Z are highly internet-savvy demographics.

They connect more easily with online solutions like live streams than just showing up to try a service. They find it easier to attend events if they already feel like part of the community through online attendance.

Live streaming opens doors for those with disabilities who have difficulty attending in person, too.

It’s a sad truth that many beautiful old buildings aren’t very accessible to disabled members. Instead of trying to individually visit these members (which is both difficult and restricts the size of the ministry), live stream the services to give them a way to interact with their community in real time.

For those who have no preferred religious services in their areas, live streaming is a way to extend a welcoming hand.

It can also build membership somewhere that could lead to a new location.

4. Build a personal connection

Some faith leaders hesitate to live stream from a fear it’s less personal.

They fear it will drive away members. In practice, the opposite is true. 62% of religious communities see higher attendance when they live stream their services.

Modern live streaming is seen as more personal than recorded videos of sermons. It encourages audience participation, letting members contribute prayer requests or questions that can be answered live.

Plus live streaming extends conversation past the end of the service through comments and shares. This preference is reflected in material ways as well.

Houses of worship who offer online services like live streaming and online tithing increases income by 32%.

Future-Focused Faith

Live streaming can build a bridge between faith and an ever-changing changing society.

Keeping that strong, flexible connection to their members is the best way religious organizations can maintain and grow their communities.

Give your members a way to take their faith wherever they go- live stream!

If you’re ready to explore a live connection with your community, we can help. Set up a demo with one of our technical advisors today!

The Benefits of Having Your Branded OTT Platform

Why are so many people developing their branded OTT platforms?

For a lot of creators, the answer is customization and control. An OTT platform gives them full access to their audience and their data, without the risks of leaning on third party OTT.

Risks of Public OTT Platforms

An OTT or “over the top” platform is a service that provides content over the internet rather than through broadcast or cable connections. Some of these are essentially cable alternatives.

Others, like YouTube, cater to original content creators.

Many creators use a combination of YouTube and social media to distribute their own custom content It’s a risky strategy. Using a public OTT platform puts creators under the control of a third party.

They find themselves navigating content and style restrictions, off-brand advertisements that interrupt their videos, and potential security vulnerabilities (remember the 2018 Facebook hack?).

To complicate matters, creators can’t control their own data on these platforms.

They have to accept whatever insight tools are available, and all data produced by their work is owned first and foremost by the third party OTT.

The Benefits of a Branded OTT Platform

A dedicated OTT platform puts control back in the hands of creators.

Platform owners enjoy a host of advantages, including:

Top to bottom brand consistency

With no censorship or outside advertising guidelines to follow, creators have the freedom to stay true to their brand.

They can highlight their content in a wholly consistent style instead of sharing space with platform branding.

Authority over advertising

Platform owners can choose brand-appropriate advertising partners that appeal to their audience without presenting conflicting messages.

Alternatively, they could decide on an alternate revenue-generating strategy (such as a subscription model).

Effective monetization

A personal OTT platform opens up a catalogue of monetization options, including subscription tiers, premium content, and tailored advertising.

With fewer partners to split that revenue, more money goes into the platform owner’s pockets. Better yet, content isn’t at risk of being demonetized or deleted by overzealous bots.

Security assurance

Social media and video sharing sites are common targets for cyber-attacks.

With a personal OTT platform, creators have oversight of their own security. They have less risk of exposing their audience to a potential data breach.

Connection and engagement

A dedicated OTT platform is a direct channel to a creator’s audience.

Brand consistency, harmonious advertising, and control over design all result in a better user experience. That inspires platform members to engage more often, allowing owners to build deeper connections to their audience.

Actionable Insights

The value of full data transparency can’t be overstated.

Platform owners have complete access to all their data instead of trying to make sense of whatever analytics third party platforms offer. This helps them optimize their content strategy.

What type of content performs well, when to post, how their audience responds to monetization styles – these are critical pieces of information that are hard to see without the data gathered by a custom OTT platform.

Who Can Benefit from an OTT Platform?

OTT platforms appeal to anyone who wants to take control of their own content and data, including:

If you’re ready to grow past the limitations of public tools, it’s time to look into developing your own OTT platform.

Drop us an email with your questions or set up a demo to explore how an OTT platform fits in with your brand strategy.

OTT Marketing is Increasing Fast: Here’s Why

OTT was once seen as a novelty- a fun new technology used to round out a traditional marketing campaign.

Now, with streaming media gaining ground over cable and the Internet of Things (IoT) taking off, OTT marketing is positioning itself as a core part of a modern marketing strategy.

What is OTT Marketing?

The exact definition of OTT marketing is both simple and complicated.

On the surface it seems easy: marketing via internet connected platforms and devices as opposed to print and cable. There is disagreement among marketers as to what exactly counts, though.

Some questions whether straightforward video ads on “cable replacement” platforms like Netflix count as OTT marketing since they don’t take full advantage of the medium’s potential for creative engagement.

Despite the controversy, OTT is an enticing target for marketing.

More and more often it’s just where the audience is these days. There are 164 OTT subscriptions per 100 households in the US alone, and Canada isn’t far behind with 132.

Those numbers are rising fast. US-based OTT nearly doubled between 2016-2018. On a global level OTT services as a whole is projected to double again by 2024, with the market growing from $81.6 billion to $156.9 billion.

Why is OTT Marketing So Effective?

Advertisers aren’t just choosing OTT marketing because it’s there, though.

It has clear benefits over other formats.

Precision targeting

A digital platform allows for highly focused marketing strategies. Instead of trying to appeal to a broad group of people who watch a specific show, users have more control.

They can target viewers in their ideal demographic who have recently shown interest in related products.

Better ROI

Because ads are shown to those who are likely to be interested in them, OTT marketing has a higher ROI than cable TV ads.

Native video ads, for example, have a 40% higher average CTR and more complete views than static website ads.

It’s also worth noting that OTT users tend to be “younger, more affluent” families than those who don’t use streaming services as their primary media source.

A growing percentage of that population don’t even watch traditional cable or satellite, so there’s limited options to reach this audience.

  • Innovation: OTT opens the door to a new breed of advertising styles. There are traditional video ads, of course, but also newer concepts like playable “game” ads, shoppable ads, and rewarded videos. Marketers can conduct AB testing by offering viewers the choice of two ads. Non-video approaches like app overlays and push notifications can be combined with video to create a fresh, interesting strategy.
  • Multi-platform approach: The ability to reach the same customer across multiple platforms using IP targeting is one of OTT marketing’s strongest draws. From a customer standpoint it leads to a customized advertising experience, with less likelihood that they’ll encounter annoying or irrelevant ads. From an enterprise the multi-platform approach increases conversion rates by putting ads where consumers will be, when they’re receptive to seeing them.
  • Data Transparency: The nature of OTT means that precise data is generated on how a particular campaign is performing. That can be broken down by market and demographic, too. Advertisers have access to the information they need to adjust their campaigns, like:

    • Did an ad result in a site visit? Was there a purchase?
    • Are consumers interacting with the ad or just letting the timer run out?
    • How many people watch the entire video?

What does the future look like?

Analysts are predicting a robust future for this expanding industry.

OTT marketing opportunities are growing all the time, and not just on computers and smartphones.

IoT keeps increasing the number and type of devices available for marketing, which has the follow-on effect of creating a richer environment with a constellation of re-engagement points.

Marketers are responding to that opportunity.

Spending on OTT marketing is over $3 billion now, with the projection of reaching $5 billion by the end of 2020. Nearly half of marketers use interactive options like shoppable ads.

They’re seeing results, too. 99% of marketers who currently use OTT marketing say they plan to keep doing so.

At the same time, traditional marketing is on the decline, with the field seeming more restricted and complex all the time. Pay TV customers are dwindling as “cord cutting” becomes the new norm. Experts predict OTT media will overtake cable and pay TV within 5 years.

It’s clear that OTT marketing can’t be ignored any longer.

If companies want to reach their most valuable customers, they’re going to need to meet them where they are: online.

 

Are you curious how OTT marketing could make your advertising strategy hyperfocused and efficient? Let us show you how our technology can put your ads in front of the right audience!

Live vs. Virtual Event: You Don’t Have to Pick Just One

As technology improves, virtual events are maturing into an exciting alternative to live events.

There’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of going digital- but how do virtual events really measure up against live events?

The Traditional Live Event

In a live event everyone involved is in one location.

All the content is presented there, and while there might be handouts or resources available later any interactive components end when the event does.

Benefits of Live Events

The biggest advantage of a live event is the opportunity for physical demonstrations.

An introductory first aid class, for example, would be hard to teach online since students need to show they’ve learned the practical skills. Many public speakers have been taught to communicate more effectively in person, where their body language and expressions are easier to read.

Plus, some people enjoy the chance for social interactions between sessions.

Limitations

Live events are expensive, both in planning time and logistical costs.

Organizers have to worry about site fees, refreshments, and permits on top of what their content and guests cost. That long planning time also makes them inflexible. It’s hard to change event dates or guests last minute.

Event materials like programs and information guides have to be printed in advance, and if anything substantial changes it’s not easy to fix before the event. Too often hosts end up making jokes mid-event to excuse their outdated materials.

While live events are exciting, they have a narrow reach. Attendance is limited by location capacity restrictions, travel expenses, and ticket costs.

Only attendees get to see the content, and once the event is over, it’s over.

Finally, live events are hard to evaluate. The main indicators of success are attendance and ticket sales. Those only measure how many people were interested enough to go, not whether they enjoyed the event.

The Power of a Virtual Event

Virtual events are fully online.

All presenters and content are distributed online, and there’s usually some form of chat system for the audience to participate.

Advantages of a Virtual Event

Going digital provides almost unlimited reach.

It’s easy and inexpensive for the audience to attend, and viewers can join from anywhere with an internet connection.

If a potentially global audience wasn’t a big enough draw, virtual events are also very cost effective. The entire budget goes into production value, quality content, and other features that directly impact audience experience.

Event materials can be changed up to the last minute if need be. Those materials- and the audience engagement forums- are available for the audience long after the event has ended.

Someone could watch a recording of the event and still participate in a discussion about the content. Being online translates into a wealth of data about the event. Organizers can do more than track attendance.

They can measure engagement both during and after the virtual event, assess which materials performed best with their audience, and adjust problem areas before the next event.

It’s an innately responsive process.

Limitations

The only significant disadvantage of a virtual event is the lack of physicality.

However, there are surprisingly few situations where the audience needs to be physically present to fully enjoy an event.

Most of the time creative staging and good lighting can provide audiences with a better view of the action than if they were a few rows back at a love event.

Live or Virtual Event: Level Up Your Events

More and more organizers are choosing virtual events to save money and focus on quality.

There are a few cases when a live event is still necessary. However, that doesn’t mean hosts can’t take advantage of a virtual event’s wider reach and longer engagement cycle by putting their live event online.

Take that first aid class we mentioned earlier.

Broadcasting it as a virtual event could serve as both a study aid for the students and a refresher to those who’ve already proved their knowledge.

It would also give some useful skills to those who don’t live near a training center. So which is better, a live event or a virtual one? When performance counts, you don’t have to pick just one.

 

Tap into a wider audience by choosing both! Let us help you with that.

How Live Streaming is Changing the Enterprise Industry

In the past, live video content has been too expensive and awkward to be a practical choice for enterprise.

Now, with more video-friendly mobile devices in the hands of employees, live streaming has become a transformative force in the business world.

Maturing Technology

Enterprise has long favored video content for training and connection purposes, but until recently live streaming remained out of reach.

It was too expensive and labor-intensive to set up, and there were no common central platforms for secure live streaming. Even international companies ran into technical problems.

Modern technology has erased many of those technical problems. For one thing, mobile has matured into a viable option for live streaming. Network availability is growing all the time, and in most developed areas it’s possible to watch real-time video without disruptive issues.

For another, hardware is significantly better these days.

The average laptop is optimized for video thanks to the popularity of streaming services, and employees are highly likely to have video-friendly mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

This removes the need to gather employees at some central location with a screen.

There are also secure streaming platforms aimed at the enterprise industry now. Instead of risking sensitive information on YouTube, companies can have a secure internal connection that’s as easy to use as a phone call.

Team members can be invited with an email and join with a single click.

The situation has improved so much, in fact, that more than 80% of those who work in corporate enterprise use streaming media in a work context.

What Live Streaming Offers Enterprise

Live streaming is a powerful engagement tool for enterprises.

Team members can sign in from wherever they are, whether they’re at their desk or working from home.

Those traveling can even join from the road. This maximizes the number of employees who have the opportunity to participate.

More importantly, the format itself encourages active listening. People these days are culturally geared towards live video and interactive experiences.

Employees respond to the idea that they are part of the live stream, with the chance to ask questions and help shape the discussion.

Two-way communication leads into another enterprise benefit: team-building. Live streaming connects employees from different departments and based in distant locations.

Besides improving the quality of work through collaborative thinking, this exchange of ideas creates a sense of internal community and keeps executives in touch with the needs of their team.

Strong internal teams do more than make work life easier. They also lower employee turnover. 77% of employees rate culture as a major consideration for choosing and staying with a company.

Consistency is a major strength of live streaming. Leaders can put out the same message to all employees regardless of location.

If someone asks a question, everyone hears the answer. It puts everyone on the same page, preventing misunderstandings that can happen when directions are passed through emails.

Finally, live streaming is highly cost-effective. It delivers a higher return on investment than either the old “group video seminars” or personal meetings.

Live streams don’t need to be maintained to stay current, like recorded video, and don’t have the site overhead associated with physical gatherings.

A company can maximize their budget by saving physical meetings for those times when hands-on contact is truly necessary and shifting the rest of their group conversations online.

What Live-Streaming Means For The Future of Enterprises

Live streaming has the power to change the way we do business forever.

It leads to better trained teams across the board, more globally-consistent companies, and higher employee satisfaction. All of this comes with the bonus of lower operating expenses.

Of course, those benefits can only be realized with a secure, stable live streaming service.

 

FanHero can set up a single live streamed event or create an enterprise-friendly platform for dynamic live-streamed events. Contact us to explore your options!

What Is An OTT Platform? A Beginner’s Guide to the Future of Streaming

An OTT platform is an outlet for delivering content directly to viewers, without going through a cable or broadcast media company.

It gives creators more flexibility in the types of content they want to produce, as well as wider control over their data and processes. 

What is OTT, Anyway?

OTT stands for “over-the-top”. It’s a type of streaming service offered via the internet, bypassing traditional content delivery methods like cable, satellite, and broadcast. 

Most people think of video on demand (VoD) when they think of OTT, but a variety of content can be delivered via an over-the-top platform.

Many platforms provide more than one type of OTT content. For example, WhatsApp users can send messages, make voice calls, or hold video calls.

There’s a growing market for VoD in particular. America is one of the largest consumers with more than half the population using over-the-top platforms daily. It’s a truly global trend, though: households with WiFi watch an average of 100 minutes per day of OTT VoD. 

How are they getting their video? There are two main ways to get around the cable box:

OTT Device

Users plug into a dedicated device to view OTT content. This doesn’t mean a computer or mobile device. Over-the-top devices could be a Smart TV, Roku, Firestick, or even a game console. 

Internet-based OTT

This is OTT with no third-party hardware involved. Users log on through a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device to access their OTT content. Hulu, Netflix, and creator apps are all examples of internet-based OTT. 

What Are Some Benefits of OTT?

As attractive as OTT is for viewers, it’s winning even more support among creators. There are unique advantages to owning an OTT platform.

Flexibility is a major bonus. OTT platform owners create what they want to make, when they want to make it.

They can hold live events, post original content, curate forums, and shape their platform however they see fit. 

The customization possible with OTT appeals to many creators who have been frustrated by network interference.

By owning an OTT platform, those creators can tailor content to their fanbase instead of having to find a middle ground between personal style and network pressure.

Access to an audience is something that’s been restricted by traditional networks for a long time. Over-the-top bypasses that roadblock.

Creators have direct potential access to anyone with an internet connection.  In the usual course of things, actual creators don’t have a lot of control over their content once it’s been sold or released.

There is a massive web of producers, network executives, and agents to be consulted on major decisions. 

OTT platforms give that control back to creators, with full data transparency and final say in advertising partners, subscription levels, and content style. Plus, constant feedback allows creators to rapidly adjust their strategy to provide a better customer experience.

Of course, there’s no denying that the lower cost of OTT is behind its rise in popularity. Building your own over-the-top platform lets you take advantage of existing internet infrastructure rather than having to build your own from scratch.

That infrastructure is already in place and maintained by internet providers.

Content creators who choose an app as their OTT platform can build in scalability from the start. They pay only for what they need at first, with the power to scale up as their audience grows.

Finally, established over-the-top platforms generate ongoing revenue for their creators. With fewer middlemen involved, there’s also a much more favorable split of that revenue.

A creator might only have to split revenue with their development partner, for example. It’s a highly functional model for profit-minded creators.

How To Make Money With An OTT

Where does the money actually come from with an OTT?

Platforms generally follow one of three models.

Subscription video on demand (SVOD)

Viewers pay a regular subscription fee to access content. There might be subscription tiers, where the lowest tiers have ads and higher levels are ad-free. SVOD provides a consistent revenue flow. However, “subscription fatigue” can complicate subscriber acquisition.

Advertising video on demand (AVOD)

Use of an AVOD platform itself is free for viewers. The model is supported by ad revenue from ads either overlaid on the interface or shown during videos.

Plenty of advertisers are following viewers to OTT; digital ad spend on OTT should reach $5 billion this year.

It’s much easier to grow an audience when they’re not paying for a subscription, but there is a higher burden on the creator to manage their advertising partners. They have to find a content-to-ad balance that audiences will accept, which can be tricky.  

Transactional video on demand (TVOD)

Viewers pay one-time fees for specific content (like pay-per-view). This can be used alone or in tandem with AVOD.

For example, a singer with an AVOD-based app might offer an exclusive virtual concert and charge a one-time fee for the event. 

There’s less consistent revenue with TVOD but also less commitment to a specific production schedule. It’s mainly used for special events or as an addition to other models. 

Putting It All Together

Still have questions? Convinced there’s a case for over-the-top, but not sure how to get started? 

Let us take you through a demo of one of the custom OTT platforms we’ve built for clients.

 

We’ve created tailored solutions for industries like sports, entertainment, health and wellness, corporate training, and more. Set up your complimentary demo today!

Virtual Events: 5 Reasons Why Your Next Event Should Be Online

In the past, virtual events have often been seen as a “fallback plan” when a live event falls through.

Developing technology and evolving requirements have moved them to a category all their own. They now serve as a new tool instead of a second-best substitute, with some interesting advantages over live events. 

Here are a few of the best reasons to have a virtual event:

Budget

There are much lower overhead costs involved in a virtual event.

Hosts don’t need to cover site rental, refreshments, hard copy materials, permits, or any of the hundred tiny expenses that can destroy a budget. The time and labor investment is also lower. 

This makes it possible to hold virtual events with less disruption to an existing schedule.

For example:

Quality

In some cases a virtual event can be better than a live event on the same topic.

The entire budget goes into things that directly impact audience experience, like upgraded visuals and video and sound quality. 

The real difference is seen in visuals, which are more easily made available digitally. With no print or structural restrictions, hosts can create rich materials that catch and hold their audience’s attention. 

There’s also a longer window for refinement and improvement with digital materials.

Event hosts could potentially update their materials the day of the event if necessary. Presenting the most current information possible is a serious advantage for business and training events. 

Accessibility and Reach

There’s no travel necessary for virtual events. Viewers can take part from anywhere with an internet connection. They can watch live, or pull up the videos later and still be able to participate in discussions. That disconnect from a specific location gives virtual events vast global reach.

Hosts can easily connect with audiences in other times zones, with material offered in a number of languages if needed. 

Virtual events are more accessible to attendees with disabilities- and not just mobility-related conditions.

Captions and a chat-based question process remove barriers for those with visual or audio impairments, putting them on a level playing field with other viewers.

Engagement

In a strange way, there are more options for comprehensive audience interaction with a virtual event.

There’s only so many people who can talk at a time in a meeting room and be understood.

Online productions offer tools like:

Engagement doesn’t stop when the event does, either. As long as the content remains online viewers can keep talking and sharing it. 

Metrics

Hosts have a deeper understanding of how virtual events perform.

By tracking participation they know how many people watched, how long viewers stayed, the percentage of their audience who interacted either live or post-event, what sections generated the most likes and shares, and much more.

This data translates into targeted insights for improving the next event. 

There are many reasons to host a virtual event.

Maybe there’s not a large event budget. Maybe employees are too far-flung to make a company-wide meeting practical. Maybe a public health crisis has limited travel or large gatherings. 

Whatever the reason, it’s important to break out of the mindset that virtual meetings are a backup plan. They’re a powerful, engaging tool with a suite of advantage that live events would be hard-pressed to match. 

 

Not convinced? Let us prove it! We can take you behind the scenes on some of our past virtual events to show you how those hosts took advantage of technology to save time and money without sacrificing engagement.

6 Common Mistakes Influencers Make While Managing Their Data

Successful social media influencers frequently wear a lot of hats. They’re entertainers, educators, and CEOs all at the same time. In today’s day and age, those who want to stay competitive need to add another title to their resume: data scientist.

Data is so valuable it’s being called the “new oil” in the business world. Those who use data wisely are surpassing their competition and evening the playing field between individual influencers and large corporations. Content creators may also reap the rewards of turning their fan data into actionable decisions that take their online presence to the next level.

While you may not need an MBA to interpret your data, you do need to use it thoughtfully. If you want to get the most out of your data without it being counterproductive to the result, watch out for these common mistakes.

1. Not having a data strategy

One of the top mistakes that influencers make is not to have an overall data management strategy. Your channel is your business, and the data tells you how that business is doing. Without a tactical approach, you may not have the clear insight into why you are gaining or losing followers. Plus, you’re going to have a hard time attracting good sponsors without consistent data that proves your worth.

While the term “data strategy” sounds vast and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Creators can put together a good data strategy on their own by asking a few questions:

Look at what you need to know, then ask what data would provide answers and how you can get it. Determine your KPIs and create a regular monitoring system.

For example, if you’re working towards your own custom app, you need to watch the levels of engagement you have during various times. Evaluate shares, comments, and other interactive forms of activity for signs that your audience is ready to migrate to an app.

2. Focusing on vanity metrics

Vanity metrics do more for a creator’s ego than their brand. These are the widely recognized prestige statistics that look impressive without being very helpful. Some of the most prominent vanity metrics include:

Follower numbers are the raw, uninterpreted number of accounts currently following yours. It’s often the first metric creators share when talking about their channel, but it doesn’t translate to active, engaged users. There are inevitably bots, side accounts, and people who rarely use their social media included among your follower numbers.

Page views count the number of pages a viewer visits before leaving your app or page. Without context like time on the page, this could imply that users are bored or frustrated instead of engaged.

Downloads are a record of app downloads. This might be confusing; after all, you want a lot of downloads. Like follower numbers, though, downloads aren’t a measure of engagement.

Vanity metrics should be the top layer of your data strategy as general “check-up” statistics. They mainly matter if they change drastically. Look for stats that give you more information, like:

3. Lumping fans into one group

Fans come in all varieties. They follow you for different reasons. It may be easier to make generalizations about them, but from a business standpoint, you need detailed profiles to inform your content strategy.

Generalizations also make it hard to pay attention to your superfans. Superfans drive more of your traffic than the rest of your followers combined. They’re the first to follow you to new platforms and support new endeavors. Data will highlight superfans for you – but you have to be looking to find them.

You can and should have more than one category of fans. To best identify your fans, there should be a methodology to generate fan profiles. This may include details about groups of fans who:

4. Not putting your data in context 

Information doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Sterile columns of numbers won’t give you much insight into your audience. A sudden drop in-app registration could mean you need better marketing or more consistent promotion of your app.

Associate your data with real-world events and your actions. Did you have a spike of new followers after an experiment that later faded away? Focus more on that experimental content. Is your reach falling on one platform? Check with other creators to see if a new algorithm could be hurting your numbers.

Bottom line, don’t get so focused on the data that you forget to look at the big picture. Information is a tool, and a great one, but it needs context to be helpful.

5. Overlooking timing

While this could be grouped with context, it’s so important it needs emphasis. Too many creators look at what and how but not when. They may track followers over time but otherwise fail to consider how time might affect their data.

When looking at your stats, pay particular attention to the time of day, day of the week, and season. Knowing when fans will be looking for content helps optimize your posting schedule. Tracking time patterns also feeds fan profiles which guide content strategy and sponsorship activities.

6. Using platform analytics tools alone 

Social media platforms offer more analytics tools than they used to, but they still hold back on sharing data. Data is their main money-maker. Sharing it is against their interests even though your content creates that data.

As a result platform tools mainly focus on traffic analysis. They have a limited ability to guide follower profiles or perform custom queries. In essence, you get what they give you.

Use third-party tools to make the most of your data. Many influencers enjoy tools like:

To get the most control, use your own analytics tools. If you direct fans to a creator app, you can choose what data you need and how to track it. App dashboards are also easier to customize than social media tools. This is the absolute best option for data management.

Make data management a priority

Data management may seem intimidating at first glance, but creators who make it a priority will reap the rewards. Take your time, be careful to avoid these critical mistakes, and give yourself a substantial edge over your competitors.

Do you need more data management tools than traditional social media offers? FanHero can put together a custom analytics package for you.  

 

Connect with us in the links to the left – we’d love to talk with you!