In a time when social distancing and quarantining are the norm, reaching people through in-person events can be a challenge. Luckily, the perfect solution exists to bridge the gap between staying safe and interacting with an audience: live streaming. A common decision you find yourself having to make is whether you should live stream on social media platforms, or engage in white-label platforms.
Today, we weigh the differences between the two and break down which type of businesses are best for which platform.
Before we hash out the pros and cons of the two platforms, let’s straighten out what these platforms refer to. White-label live streaming platforms refer to platforms that are customized for your business by another service. Although the development is done by the other service, there will be no indications that it is done by them. You will also own the content and data derived through this made-for-you platform.
Examples of white-label live streaming platforms would be BeLive Technology, DaCast, and IBM.
Social media live streaming platforms refer to the mainstream social media platforms that offer live streaming capabilities. The biggest examples would be Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
White-label Platforms: Advantages
The first and most obvious advantage that white-label live streaming services give would be the option to customize. Don’t be fooled, customization doesn’t only apply to aesthetics and branding colours. White-label platforms allow you to customize individual live streaming features as well.
For example, you can choose to have the live chat message pin function react differently than the normal pin-to-top behaviour.
What this means is that you can have full control of the user interface and user experience. After all, who else would better know your audience’s preferences than your own business.
When you have your own custom live streaming platform, you can monetize your content in any way you want. You may decide to implement subscription fees, pay per view options, or other payment alternatives; the choice is yours.
A unique monetization method used by social live streaming apps would be virtual gifting. Platforms with virtual gifting would allow live stream viewers to purchase in-app currency. This in-app currency can be used to buy virtual gifts that can be gifted to their favourite live streamers. The live streams can then ‘cash out’ the virtual gifts as a form of income.
Data and Analytics
In having your own developed live streaming platform, you will have full ownership of the data that goes through as well. Beyond exporting the usual viewership and comments numbers, you can even tie in the data of signed-in users to your CRM.
What does this mean? Let’s say in a live shopping stream, a user who has signed in makes a purchase through the live shopping catalog. The backend system can track the purchase and other products that the user viewed, and use this data to boost recommendations of similar products in the platform or through other marketing efforts.
White-label Platforms: Disadvantages
This is the biggest reason that businesses stay away from using white-label platforms. Beyond the development fee, there will also be additional fees like server cost. Sometimes the server cost can be higher than the development fee because it depends on the number of viewers and live streams the platform has.
Some white-label services declare the server cost incurred transparently for their client to handle. Other services allow hosting the live stream platform on their own server at a higher cost, so they can earn more from server hosting.
Managing your own live streaming platform calls for additional manpower needed. This may be for content curation, designing, or technological developments.
Some services, such as BeLive Technology, offer end-to-end services. This means that they can even help out with the content curation or marketing efforts for your platform. Additionally, their business and development teams are always available if you require technical help.
Whom White-label Services Are For
Large businesses can anticipate high returns by using white-label live streaming services. Retail brands can also make use of white-label services to develop or integrate live stream shopping features into their platform.
Social Media Platforms: Advantages
The most obvious reason why businesses should live stream on social media is its zero cost. It is completely free to use the live stream features and these features are enough to start a live stream, live chat with viewers and have basic analytics.
Being mainstream platforms, social media platforms already have a large user base. Facebook alone has more than 2 billion monthly active users. When you start a live stream on these platforms, chances are your audience are already here and they can easily access your live stream.
Also the main reason why some businesses prefer social media platforms, it’s simply just easy to use. You do not require any form of technical knowledge, nor do you need additional designers to pretty up the platform. All you need is a phone camera and internet connection, and you’re done. At the very most, you will need a studio designer to make your live stream setting look appealing.
Social Media Platforms: Disadvantages
The live stream features of social media platforms are basic. There’s live chat, live video and the option to save the recording, and that’s it. You may have to temporarily part with your branding as well because you cannot change out of the platform’s user interface.
As we mentioned before, social media platforms have billions of active users. This means you will have to compete with other brands and content for your audience’s attention.
Let’s take Instagram Live for example. Although live streams have first placement in the arrangement of stories, you may not be the only live stream in your audience’s followings. They may choose to watch another business’s live stream or they can easily leave your live stream to consume other content on Instagram.
Whom Social Media Live Streaming Is For
Smaller businesses that are still in the process of growing their user base can greatly benefit from live streaming on social media platforms. It would be easy to reach their target audience, and for new potential customers to come across their live streams.
Businesses who are new to live streaming and are still in the exploration and discovery stages can benefit here as well. Because of the low costs, failed experimentations would not incur a huge loss for the business.
Whether it’s live streaming on social media or using your own white-label platform, there’s no denying the power that live stream brings. Not using a live stream strategy would only result in losing out and lagging behind your competitors.
If your business is ready to make that next move, contact BeLive Technology for a free consultation on having your own live streaming platform.