This week I talk with Zoom senior product manager Nitasha Walia. Nitasha and I discuss Zoom’s new live streaming features. Live streaming has the potential to engage and influence millions of stakeholders.
Zoom’s cross-platform video webinar software can now steam to YouTube or Facebook Live. In the past, Live Steaming was about dull single “camera” presentations. Zoom’s video webinar product will allow live streamers to mix and switch between multiple sources including live video, white boards, slides and desktop sharing. Analytics best practices can enable these audiences of millions to be qualified, retargeted and recorded for KPI tracking.
An organization, brand or stakeholder community could host a video webinar to highlight a single speaker presentation, a 1 on 1 discussion, or a 1:many conversation and share that:
(1st) with a secured webinar group.
(2nd) additionally re-share the webinar via live streaming to Facebook Live or YouTube (for no additional fee). Live streaming into YouTube allows for public, unlisted or private “streams.” On Facebook live streaming can be distributed via personal, or brand pages.
Within the Zoom video webinar platform an active participant can share their desktop screen, meaning anything you can put on a desktop can be added to a live stream. For example:
- SAAS tools or any web browser
- Gaming environments
- Live software demos
- Text chats with folks signed into the webinar
- Video or audio from a native file
- Sharing a white board
- A sports team media day where the public could watch the typical Q&A with each team-member, but also interact with them, or watch them give skill clinics, and personal messaging.
- A fund raising event where members of the public have the choice to watch one of two live streams. One that covers the major portion of the event, but a second with micro programming featuring extended celebrity interaction and ultimately monetized live Q&As.
- An internal event streamed from HQ with cut-away remotes to facilities and staff across the country or the globe (without the need for news trucks and satellite feeds).
- A software demonstration where existing customers are no longer talking heads speaking in platitudes but rather sharing desktops and video from their actual work locations (e.g., adding real world authenticity).
- Political events that bypass gate-keepers by speaking directly to the public.
- In a crisis, a business with multi-channel attribution and marketing automation or CRM integration, could use live streaming to gain real time knowledge the most engaged stakeholder personas and formulate action plans covering multiple persona cohorts right down to individual stakeholders.
Authentic vs. Engaging
Live streams need to be authentic and engaging, and still communicate important messages. We can get a simulacrum of authenticity using poor quality video but will that hold our audiences? [E.g., watching video from someone shaking while holding a 3 year-old smartphone, in poor light, (while forgetting to look into the camera) and moving in and out of focus.]. The Zoom video webinar features hold the promise to make a more interesting, engaging and exciting live stream.
I think the best “add-in” feature is incorporating social proof. This could be including live conversations with micro or macro influencers, or discussing and responding to social media messaging in real-time. There is the ability to add in nearly limitless voices as the webinars can have up to 50 “active” participants.
Thousands to Millions
1000’s can watch within the webinar product, but through YouTube or Facebook millions can follow along., although they can’t directly participate. Nitasha notes that chat comments on YouTube/Facebook stay in those ecosystems (for now). She suggests that organizations might need a moderator to watch the livestream chat boards. My suggestion is that a moderator could pull chats back into the webinar using good old “cut n paste.”
It's also certainly possible if there is market demand, that Zoom could use the YouTube Super Chat API to pull those messages back into Zoom, and/or enable monetization (I discuss the Super Chat API in this past episode of YouTubular Conversations link (5 minutes)). This could open to door to using this technology for large scale charity and fundraising events.Live Beyond Talking Heads. Chat bots may also have a role to play.
Live Beyond Talking Heads
I am enamored of the idea of breaking down rigid kabuki-esque presentations, adding in vital, dynamic and hopefully non-scripted elements. ZOOM can handle dozens of active participants — some of those “slots” could be allocated to staff members with high quality mobile devices with quality microphones. They could walk-through an audience or behind the scenes at an event. Whoever is “driving” the webinar could then select one of those “camera POVs” effectively giving a live streaming event a multi camera production quality (thanks Lucy*!).
Feeders, Sidebars, Prequels, and After Parties
Savvy organizations could use micro or macro influencers (including paid creators) to start up personal live streams (outside of the webinar) and after gathering an audience let them know they are joining the “main event” (about to start or already in progress) and promote the URL for the live stream. The bonus is is that all those folks would already be online, warmed up and ready. With the right storytelling elements fans, and friends of the influencers would be eager to watch them interact with the larger event, and the other stars, creators, or community members.
It’s not clear exactly how much control there is within the Webinar dashboard, but ideally the dashboard (and the team controlling it) could function very much like a TV control room. Selecting from and placing multiple video feeds, whiteboards, videos, and desktops on the screen on an ad-hoc basis or following a script. Let’s imagine that input from drones will come soon as well.
Nitasha points out that the 1000’s those who officially use the Zoom app to sign-in and watch a webinar/event can be required to provide their email address and other data. However data from the publics who are watching live need not be lost. All of the fans on YouTube could also be “pixeled” and added to a variety of retargeting programs from Facebook’s to AdRoll’s. Because the YouTube streams are easily embedded in a corporate web site, this sort of tracking and attribution may already be in place. Facebook also has lots of new options to build audiences based on engagement.
As I alluded to above, modern analytics focused on attribution can track both anonymous and known individuals recording activities, demographic and technical dimensions plus conversion paths. For internal events (where folks need to sign into an intranet) it would be easy to record engagement on an individual and departmental levels and correlate it to other online and offline activities. For external events, communicators could directly tie the “millions” watching a free live stream back to corporate marketing automation and CRM systems contributing to qualified leads, maintaining entanglement and providing the opportunity for shareholder engagement.
Zoom supports phone line audio, allowing for secured call-in numbers for guests and other stakeholders. All Zoom products are highly cross-platform available on Mac, IOS, Android, Windows, Linux and Chromebooks. Specific zoom functionality (meeting room, conf. room, webinar, persistent live chat) is limited by licensing but uses the same software application(s). Visit Zoom.us for details.
*Desilu Studios is widely credited with inventing the 3-camera shoot; it may not be true but think of it as an alternative fact (LA Times article on multi-camera production).