Select Page
Share this post
19 min read
  • 00:00 – Introductions
  • 01:05 – The history of live streaming
  • 03:00 – What do Groovy Gecko do?
  • 04:19 – What sort of content should be live streamed? ( and strategy)
  • 07:12 – How to get started with live-streaming?
  • 08:32 – What platforms should you use for live-streaming?
  • 09:22 – How can you analyse the success (ROI) of a live-stream?
  • 11:11 – What is the future of live-streaming?
  • 15:24 – How to cope when things go wrong whilst you’re streaming? (The risks of being live)
  • 19:52 – Final thoughts

 

David

Hi. So thank you for joining us today. We have Jake Ward who’s very kindly agreed that a bit of a chat with us. Jake has a background in agency and TV and he spent the last eight years working for Groovy Gecko. Groovy Gecko are a company specializing in live streaming and I’ve seen some of the stuff they do is absolutely incredible and creative and you should definitely check them out. He’s been live streaming I think you said it was 24 years Jake.

 

Jake

Yes. It all started with a small audio stream off live TV and for those older viewers of this they might remember a technology Real Player which came out of came out of a guy who left Microsoft deciding that audio will be then the Internet was the future. How far we’ve come in twenty four years.

 

David

I was going to say he was right.

 

Jake

Oh yeah absolutely. You know they within two years they had video working and you know it may have been on dial up modems and the size of a postage stamp.

 

David

I’m kind of intrigued to know because I hadn’t twigged. Obviously it’s a very sort of recent phenomenon. People got very excited about it again. But he’s kind of always been there for a very long time.

 

Jake

Yeah. It’s actually been there for for a vast amount of time you know almost almost long as the Internet itself you know within probably 18 months of the Internet really beginning to break out into universities and begin to be accessible. There were tools where you could stream your first audio clips and then a live audio. And it’s always been in the background of kind of corporate comms and the way people deal with communicating within organizations whether there’s big networks and bandwidth. But I think the big change we’ve obviously seen over the last three four years is the social media platforms really embracing it as a format. And it’s gone. It’s that difference between content being out there somewhere on the Internet that you need to find and it’s on someone’s web page. The content being in your social streams and being able to find it a lot easier and you being able to engage with brands and people and audiences, channels which which are just popping live content into that stream constantly. So. Certainly on on social what we see is. There’s kind of on the corporate stuff where you’re getting people to go elsewhere. There is a very very valuable audience will turn up but they’re quite small in number on social the audience is a lot bigger. But they’re not potentially as valuable because some of those people will watch two seconds of content and bounce away.

 

David

No I mean you’re kind of touching on the strategy kind of behind why you would do a livestream and where you would put it. And how you use it. I think before we get there can you give us just a little bit of background about Groovy Gecko: what you do so that people kind of have an idea of where you’re coming from.

 

Jake

Yeah absolutely. So groovy’s been around scarily 20 years this year as a proper company that does online video so that shows how old this tech is and we really do three things: we do corporate streaming so that kind of what people think of as a web cast. We do big video platforms for large organizations that might be brands like Next or it’s things like the UK parliament and the Scottish Parliament. And the third element is lots of live particularly on social and that’s not just Facebook which is a mixer and twitch which are both game orientated, YouTube we’ve got new platforms coming up like Instagram which is still relatively new in the live space. We’ve got TikTok at the moment still on demand but I’m sure we’ll grow some live capacity in the coming years. But it’s really about producing. The tech part of delivering that content. So it’s not necessarily that we’re great advertising agency style creatives we’re creative technologists. So we generate and create tools that enable very clever creatives to do amazing things with them. So we’re very much about removing the risk from delivery and kind of giving people a cool tool to play with for want of a better phrase.

 

David

What are the considerations that they need to have as to whether this is a this stuff that could go live or that could be valuable to them if it was life?

 

Jake

Yeah I think it’s always a question of understanding what your audience wants to see and understand what your audience are interested in. People quite often ask the question about. Which platform should this be on? And the common question I ask back is what where where is your audience? Are they on Instagram or are they on Twitter or they’re on Facebook. There’s really interesting things like with Twitter if companies use it as a customer help line. So it’s a series of complaints and then suddenly they start pushing live video — “see our new product.” All they get is more complaints if they use it as a news channel. That’s because people who engage with the news channel they get oh this really interesting. And so it’s about matching the line to the right channel. But I think it’s always about the value propositions. Why would I watch it. And the trap sometimes brands fall into is they go. Oh I don’t know because it’s not for me. Which is great. But you then need to understand what the people who will watch it need to need to see.

 

David

Is that it’s not just about putting the stream up. It’s everything around. You have to tell people that you have content that you think or that you’ve put content up. Otherwise no one is ever going to watch it. The amount of people saying just throw things on YouTube put a link on their website and leave it alone.

 

Jake

Yeah. And I think there’s also an interesting interplay between the different things you do. You know there’s the different platforms. You know I’ve done very successful campaigns where we might be doing something over an extended period of time and you might have. You might have a on demand video going up every week on Facebook every day on Facebook. And then the seventh day of the week you go and do a live. And a live then. People come into the live and they’re encouraged to watch the other six videos or the next week the on demand video that comes out. But they’re also encouraged by the on demand videos to watch the live. So it’s a beautiful beautiful virtual circle. Where actually. The mass of content being shared by different people because you’re targeting different areas of the demographic potentially with the content. Drives everybody towards a central location to engage in in a more interesting way.

 

David

I think that’s the key because I have this expression I use “A critical mass of content”. If you have a single piece of content it’s not going to get there. But the more content you have the more they start feeding into each other. Especially when you start involving other people in the creation. And the distribution of that content. But I realize what I can drill down to sort of really basic terms you know what people who are interested in live streaming can do to get started.

 

Jake

Yes absolutely. So I think I think where me and Groovy Gecko are really big fans of piloting and experimentation. I don’t think particularly a smaller company. You don’t know what your audience wants to participate in. I’ve given you some guidance but I think experimentation is really case and doing small simple things and reviewing the data. And as you said earlier using that data was a good source to Spin. Spin off from that. You know you can do a Facebook Live from your phone. You can do something really simple like a simple Q and A with you on your phone. You phone on the tripod. Make sure you’re staying in one place with great Wi-Fi. And use a decent audio feed and actually can produce something quite reasonable if you’re doing a simple Q and A. That’s absolutely fine to your your smallish audience but it’ll tell you what they like. And it will tell you whether there’s value there whether simple things like Will people ask questions while I’m live or actually do I want to ask people questions a week in advance. So I’ve got a great big wodge hugely interesting questions that I can run through it for 20 minutes.

 

David

Almost every platform has a live option. How do people know which is the right platform for them to use?

 

Jake

I think that goes back to audience and I think you know there’s a lot of a lot of people looking at Insta Live at the moment as well because that’s kind of suddenly come on the scene and people who have younger audiences are looking at their Instagram falling and go. Maybe it’s smaller than my Facebook following perhaps but. Is it more valuable? I think it’s about finding finding where that audience is. It’s also very important to look at where they are when they’re there that you don’t want to be broadcasting on Instagram at 9 o’clock in the morning if actually your stats on Insta are miniscule at 9 o’clock in the morning. But everyone’s there at 9 o’clock at night. You have to be flexible with your audience.

 

David

So you are touched on in a lot of the discussions I often have is what metrics to use to. Identify the success of the video or project that you’ve worked on especially video. People tend to look at views. And that’s it and that’s where they judge the success. But. Obviously that is it’s not only not the only. Metric. You’ve got the idea I don’t think you can use is possibly. One of. Sort of the lowest indicators of actually how well something’s done.

 

Jake

It’s a pretty blunt instrument I think. I think there’s some subtlety in the way you look at views actually I think views is a massive number that’s great. But if you’re doing live. Unless you’re you’re doing a very high tech solution you won’t have subtitles. So honestly like Facebook look at how many of those people listened with the sound off. That’s probably a good first indicator. How many have bothered not just looking at pretty pictures but strangely on them engaging in some way. The. Average you know average viewing times are important. I think as well. You know on something like YouTube. 30 seconds is a view. On Facebook it’s. Three to 10 seconds you know so that’s quite a difference. You have ten views on Facebook on Facebook can be the same as one view on YouTube so you’ve got to understand those metrics as well. But I think checking for sound on checking for the actual length of engagement because you might find that no matter what you do. You know people can engage for four and half five minutes on average. And if you do a 7min piece it’s four and a half minutes. If you do a half hour piece. And 4 and a half minutes. So that would suggest. That you could do a 10 minute piece and cram that full of content.

 

David

Streaming has taken leaps and bounds. Recently. Where’s it going? What’s coming up?

 

Jake

That’s a very interesting one so we have we have people that things like TikTok which are which are another video platform gaining momentum. It’s kind of short form on demand stuff without involving something live. I’m not quite sure but there’s always new entrants into the market. I think what’s interesting for me is is things like Facebook Watch. Which for those of you who are watching that don’t know. It is more like a kind of Netflix style offering from Facebook. So that’s in that’s launched in the UK now it’s launched every territory worldwide. People who produce video content anyway now appear on the watch tab. So I think it’s if you have more than thirty thousand, three minute views of your video content over the course of two months you can come onto watch. But Facebook are also commissioning watch programs. And they’re commissioning stuff that drives conversations there’s Watch discussion groups around programs. You can actually have a watch party. So you’ve been. On the program you like. It watch party call you mates and say she pulls all your mates in they find them. I am now watching this program watch along with me and you can chat back and forth. So it’s kind of all being on the same couch even though you’re potentially. Scattered around the world. And the watch the watch thing is very interesting. You know it’s game shows there’s a new game show tool from Facebook which they’ve just launched over here. With a show called Confetti UK. Global Radio has just launched a game show based on Heart FM, a channel in London. And so for me it’s all about these kind of interactive experiments driving stuff forward and I think. You know. Everyone’s looks to Netflix and so there is a model there to grab eyeballs. It may be kind of cutting the cord and we’re less and less live TV going on and people using iPlayer and everything else but it’s now becoming more of a battle. Where will those people watch that? Netflix has a big headstart. They’re looking at interactivity with things like Bandersnatch. Facebook so the interactivity you know they’re commissioning they’re looking at a lot of tools to add that element natively and platform launched their own game show tool is pretty brave and that will evolve over the next year. And I think for me it’s about this kind of thing of it’s driving the interactivity. The trick is always with interactivity because at the core still needs to be a great bit of content. But if I don’t want to interact and I just want to sit there and and you know it’s almost moving wallpaper or I’m vegging out I don’t want to have to go make that decision. Every 45 seconds. I want to do is a great bit see a great bit of content but either make decisions for me or with things like game shows is an amazing game show that has an interactive layer spread over the top. And I think that will be the balancing act that will be the challenge. In the next few years is kind of how do you make a great bit of content and then the 15, 30, 45 percent of people who want to play along or interact it’s an even better bit of content. You don’t remove that sit back experience. So I think that’s where interactive TV in all its various forms. Red button or otherwise it is it’s kind of fallen down to. That I need to constantly input. And actually I want to watch program.

 

David

I think that’s whenever new technology comes out or is developed. Often it gets overused. And then people tire of it and then it sort of thought of negatively. Whereas actually it’s always about finding not just using it for the sake of it but finding the right way to use it so that it enhances the content rather than detract from it.

 

Jake

Yeah. And I always think you’ll get these wacky outliers that will work but they probably only work in that one off. And actually what what works best is some stability in the center with a little bit of interactivity. But not. Massively over egging the pudding.

 

David

I think we’re running out of time a little but there is one question that cropped up which I think is quite interesting and would be worth getting an answer to which is if people live people make mistakes. If you’re interacting someone might. Swear if it’s not meant. If you don’t want swearing all of these things happen. How can you deal with that? If you’re live… especially using some of the tools that people might be using.

 

Jake

Yeah. So I think I think this is a really difficult one. I know working with some of the brands I do it’s always a concern. I think to a certain degree. There is an acceptance that you are live and some things occasionally go wrong and things happen. I think. One of the things that we do sometimes is is introduce a bit of delay. It’s difficult when you’re you’re using basic tech like a phone but if you’re shooting shooting on a camera you can introduce a little bit of delay to that and as we see things like Big Brother you can have a bit of ambient sound you go to. One of the things that we find really effective. Just to focus the mind for people. Regardless of whether they’re a huge international brand or tiny little charity in the UK is have that discussion. When you begin to talk about live. Begin to list all those things that go wrong. And actually put against them that level of risk. If someone swears how disastrous is that for our brand compared to if our prototype blows up that we’re showing on the screen or if someone trips up. Or you know and a look at all those and work out in mitigating circumstance for each of them. You know a lot can be sometimes simply with a really simple production is. You have a slate. That comes up a graphic that comes up that explains you’ve got technical difficulty. And you’re just fixing something or you’re just doing that person but I think delay, some delay and kind of technical graphics always help but it’s actually about planning. We work in a very risk averse way so I tend to talk about the very scary stuff that might happen on a live with clients because then when nothing happens or something very minor happens they go oh we covered that off didn’t we? That was that was all absolutely fine. But it is about that forethought going in. And accepting that the audience understand it’s a live. I’ve done the lives where people have actually only begun to realize that it’s actually live when something has to happen. I did. About three years ago Facebook Live with Noel Gallagher who tried incredibly hard was incredibly stiff. During the first three minutes. It’s a life Q and A with the crowd. With Facebook Live users and. He accidentally swore. And as you fully expect Noel Gallagher to do. And he said oh I’m really sorry. And the brilliant way. No it’s okay. It’s not like TV and kind of the audience expect that. He immediately went Oh that’s much. Relaxed. Barely swore again but just a thought in his mind that he could swear was worse than him actually swearing twice in the broadcast. And so people understand it’s alive after.

 

David

A story what you said earlier because the thought that occurred is this idea of paralysis by analysis. People. Who are I can imagine sitting there and they’re going into listing all of the things that can go wrong and they need to you know work out what the likelihood of things going wrong is. But they also I think need to weigh up the value that something goes wrong vs.. What if they didn’t do the steam? What if they didn’t go ahead with the content? What’s the value that content to them compared to that to the risk that something might happen?

 

Jake

Yeah and we all know some of the best comms the best PR happen when things go wrong you know when people when brands react well to something going badly that can be that can be a massive asset to them. So there is also that is kind of you know if the presenter… If you’re presenting something in someone’s says you can always apologise on air. To be honest that happens on daytime TV. Probably once a month where someone lets a word slip. So the audience has an empathy that this is live. They understand that. So therefore they feel you can incorporate that into into the way you deal with it.

 

David

I think we’re out of time now. But I’d obviously like to ask if there’s anything you want to leave people with. Any recommendations any of final thoughts?

 

Jake

I think. There goes back to an old phrase that I like very much which is “measure twice cut once” and for me that is all about live. It’s about. It’s about giving it real thought into not only what the live is. but what your audience will really want to see but also about. What you want to do afterwards what that content will be. And looking at all those risks and understanding them. And I think if you go in with your eyes open and understand the parameters then you can produce really great stuff. Even at the very low end you can. Produce really engaging stuff. And the key for me on that is. If you’re just starting. If you don’t know what to do. Experiment. You have come up with a few ideas plan them out and then take that data and iterate on those ideas because I think the best. Evidence for what works is what your audience is willing to what.

Share this post