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How To Convert Live Video Viewers Into Customers

In today's mobile-first world, live video serves as a way to connect directly and instantly with the followers you have acquired on your social channels. This article explains how to increase the ROI of live video through identifying a single call to action, advertising your live event, showing off your product/services, and interacting with those who tune in.

Six years ago I started a production company called Mighteor, which makes internet videos for brands. Back in 2013, this was an extremely novel idea: a woman leaving a career in television to make commercials for just the Internet.

Now, it seems like everybody does that, and with good reason. I absolutely love the power of integrated channels, all of the platforms that we use today to help us connect with audiences.

In this article, I’ll talk about some of the ways that, over the last six years, my company has helped our customers turn video viewers into actual customers. We’ve done live streams for brands as big as American Express. We support Facebook’s internal events function on Facebook Live. We do a lot of livestreaming for technology companies and we use a bunch of different platforms. The primary platforms that we use day in, day out are Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live. That is where we tend to put the vast majority of our effort.

We occasionally work with third-party platforms or custom platforms that are built by our clients, but most of what I'll discuss here pertains to the most widely accessible platforms available: Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live.

Interpreting KPIs

Common key performance indicators (KPIs) for live streaming include number of viewers, minutes of retention, and “likes” or “subscribes.” I consider these vanity metrics--especially the last two. I don’t believe that these metrics are actually valuable KPIs for understanding how valuable your content is.

The vast majority of viewership can be purchased. Anything that can be purchased--meaning, I can go online and say, “I would like to get 10,000 more people to watch this thing”--inherently reduces the value of said KPI.

As for “Minutes of Retention,” I do think that there is a value to how long people watch your content. On the other hand, if somebody can watch your livestream and get a lot of value in the first two minutes and make a purchase based on what they see in those two minutes, that’s just as good as someone watching 55 minutes of your video and deciding to make a purchase.

So it’s important to have a really clear mindset about retention. How long someone watched a video is not necessarily an indication of whether they’ll convert, buy, or engage with you. I know it’s very difficult to separate these ideas in our minds, but they are not inherently connected.

Calling Your Customers to Action

The real question for anyone looking to generate revenue from live video should actually be, “What critical action do I want viewers to take while they are tuning in or immediately afterwards?”

Let’s walk through a common action. We work with a lot of B2B software companies. Their product, at the end of the day, is software. They would like to sell more seats and licenses for their software.
The most critical action they want their viewers to take is usually one of three things:

  1. Enter an email address so that they can continue to email the viewer about their software.
  2. Download a trial version of their software.
  3. Sign up for more information or for a demo.

Let’s say your goal is for your viewers to opt-in. How do you get people to opt in?

The first step that we take when helping our customers identify those three key metrics is we ask, What action most commonly leads to exist to a conversion in your existing funnel?”

How do you figure something like this out? You look at your existing funnel and you say, “The most common reason that someone converts from interest to next step is because of X.”

For example, we work with Miracle-Ear. Believe it or not, hearing aids are very, very popular with Facebook users.

One of Miracle-Ear’s most common moments of conversion happens when viewers schedule an appointment to meet with a Miracle-Ear professional, someone who can talk to them about some of the things that they have questions about with regards to their personal hearing challenges.

For us, the number one thing that we want to drive in most of their livestreams is “Schedule an appointment to talk to a hearing professional.” This is often the third or fourth step in the funnel. But with livestreaming, we have this really engaged audience who’s with us for a moment in time. We can expedite that process, skip two or three steps in the funnel, and move them very quickly to scheduling that appointment. We know that that is the moment when somebody will make a decision to buy.

Conversion-Based KPIs

When we begin to work with brands and develop a livestreaming ad strategy for them, we start with a common set of questions. The first question is, “How do you attract most of your customers right now?”

For many of our product-focused brands, the answer is social media or paid advertising.

Then I might say, “With your digital assets, how many times do you have to have a touch with your digital assets with that customer before they make a purchase decision?”

For the brands we work with, some are as low as three, many are as high as 25. It depends on the brand, but we want to identify that moment in time where they convert. That moment often leads us to a list that allows me to know what we should put in their livestream.

One common vehicle for getting livestream viewers to convert is by offering coupons and promo codes (Figure 1, below). For example, if you’ve acquired someone’s email address and you know that, 30% of the time when we offer somebody who’s been on our email drip campaign of coupon or a promo code, that is the moment of conversion, I know that a coupon or a promo code is going to be a very valuable piece of content to put into your livestream.

Figure 1. Conversion-based KPIs

Customizing the code to that livestream is a really diligent way to be able to track that information to know later on how well it converted for you. Often we change up the promo code over time in a livestream. So maybe on the first Tuesday’s livestream it’s promo code X, Y, Z. Then on the following Tuesday’s stream, the promo code is A, B, C. This allows us to know exactly which livestream we converted from. We’re using that promo code to track the efficacy of our programming.

A number of product-related questions is a common KPI. It’s a common moment of conversion for our clients. By “product related question,” I mean how many times do we have to answer a question either in an in-person visit--like when you’re speaking with a hearing professional or online--or online in a chat functionality until you make a purchase?

The average, for many of our clients is actually about two-and-a-half questions. If you know that talking to a professional, talking to a consultant, talking to an agent within your business is a common way that you get a conversion to sale, the next thing you want to ask is, How many questions are we answering? When we know this, we will actually reverse-engineer the most commonly asked questions into our livestream.

The top questions that lead to a company making a sale might be something like this: How do I pair this product to Bluetooth? Is this waterproof? What are some use cases for this product?

We’ll take the top three and include them in our programming. We will then be able to know if those three converted in a livestream.

What about new email marketing signups, or opt-ins? For many brands, emails are the most common thing that you need. This is true for our company too. We want your email because we want to annoy you incessantly. We want your email so much we’ll often offer something in the livestream in exchange for you providing us your email.

We have had people do it many different ways. One approach is to say, “We will send you a coupon or a promo code if you provide us an email.” Or: “We will provide you with a free digital download link to our white paper about X, Y, Z topic if you provide us with your email.”

There are some really easy ways to do this. You can build a small microsite. You can do it in the Comments functionality.

Conversion-based KPIs represent a shift in industry thinking. We’re making a shift from just thinking about how to convert our audience to thinking about how to turn them from casual likes and casual subscribers into new email marketing signups.

To identify the most effective KPIs for you, go back within your organization and determine what are those things that most commonly lead to sales conversion inside of your business.

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