Tweet I've been looking for a good way to incorporate livestreaming video into my Facebook Professional Speaker Fan page. The page, Tom Martin Talks is where I post reviews, etc., so that prospective companies or organizations that are looking to hire professional speakers for their events or to hose workshops at their companies can find me, see reviews of my talks and reach out and say hello.
So, I've been looking for a way to stream live talks directly via the page and was very excited when I got an email telling me Livestream had integrated with Facebook. You may recall, Livestream is the platform I used for my 2010 Mardi Gras Social Media Brand Perception Study project. As you know, I'm also quite a fan of launching small marketing experiments to learn first hand what works and what doesn't. To this end, I presented a 15 minute replay of my Why Advertising Will Never Light Your Customer's Fire talk that I gave at TribeCon in October.
So, what did I learn? A lot. Here goes... and if anyone out there has also experimented with the Livestream plug in for Facebook, please let me know what you learned via the comments please.
First the positive
- To be safe you have to start your broadcast early -- luckily for you Livestream does give you a simple one-click way to share your screen, or a portion of it instead of the live video stream. They also let you mute your audio. I loved this feature. Basically I just created a Keynote title card and muted the sound... that way folks joining could know they were in the livestream but I didn't have to go on right at 11a, which allowed for stragglers to come aboard. Very, very cool feature.
- If you've never used Livestream, it's quite easy to set up and activate. In the past, I've used the webcaster and I think for my next stream I may try that. I'm pretty sure you can't do the screen share piece noted above but maybe the stream frame rate (FPS) would be better? Not sure, just know in the past I haven't had the audio/video sync issues noted below.
- There is an embedded FB chat capability, which we didn't test. I did however have a few folks say they would have loved to do that, especially to chat directly to me -- sort of a Q&A if you will. This would have made it more 2-way vs 1-way.
- Automatically archieves the video and gives you the ability to download it as a standalone, editable video file for use elsewhere.
- I got a 10% lift in fans on my fan page (you had to like the page to view the stream) and I got a nice lift in Twitter traffic today with folks kindly sharing the link to the livestream
Now for the negative
- I used the Procaster download because it promised better audio video quality. Sadly, more than a few folks emailed/tweeted me that the audio and video where choppy or out of sync. One of the great things about Livestream is that it automatically archives a copy of the talk for you and let's you download it. But as noted in here, the audio/video sync is horrible so it's basically unusable video.
- For whatever reason, the video was uploading at 11 FPS (frames per second), which I noticed during the presentation but there isn't any way to change it so I had to just hope for the best.
- There was a bit of poetic irony during my talk -- I was talking about how advertising won't light your customer's fire because it is interruptive vs invitation... as I'm talking, ads are popping up in the feed, in some cases totally covering up me and muting the audio. Again, a few folks let me know this happened to them and they thought it really destroyed the overall effect.
- The video stream seems to lagg behind real-time by about a minute. We noticed this in our original demo tests here at Converse Digital and again on Friday. What made it especially bad on Friday was that I finished my talk and then clicked stop. Which stopped the feed but what I didn't know, is that it litterally stopped the feed -- which meant the last minute of my talk was cut off. I figured it would continue to stream the last minute until the lag caught up with reality. Note to self: next time, finish and ensure someone else is monitoring the stream and gives you the heads up that it finished before you shut down the stream.
Marketing Implications of the Experiement
Overall, my jury is still out. Like I said, I've had good exeriences with video/audio quality when using Livestream in the past but today was just terrible and now, because I can't use the archive footage, it's a double negative.
The ads are way too intrusive. Unfortunately for me, and likely a lot of smaller brands, the entry level is $350 month or $3,500 a year (if you pay annually) and that may be a bit of stretch for what is likely coming from an R&D budget. Livestream, like many other technology platforms need to figure out a way to develop better onboarding pricing strategies. Especially if they want to reach the masses.
There is a lot more to this opportunity than I'm able to cover here... to really understand the power of embedded livestreaming in your Facebook page, I'd really need to upgrade to a pro plan with all the bells and whistles. This would include more control over branding, quality of stream and best of all - access to analytics, which as I recall were quite good.
So that's what we learned today... let me know what you think. And if you've learned anything playing with this technology on your own, share that too?