Top 6 Influences Driving the Live Viewership Trend

Livestreaming isn’t new, but it has only recently shot to mainstream popularity. Now, businesses, celebrities and regular people are sharing and viewing live video online. The majority of the Internet viewed more live video in 2016 than they did the year before. According to Social Media Examiner, 14% of marketers reported using live video in 2016. Another 50% plan to use Facebook Live or Periscope in 2017 and want to know more about live streaming. The trend shows no sign of slowing down.

If livestreaming capabilities have existed for over a decade, (even more if you count TV broadcasts), then why does it seem to have only recently gained traction now? Also, why are more people recording and viewing live videos online and what does it mean for businesses?

1. Video content was already popular.

Have you noticed that every mainstream social media app (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat) have added video capabilities? It is what the people want. People are four times more likely to watch a video than read a blog. Video is the fastest growing and most engaging type of content today. Here are a few statistics that prove it:

By 2020, more than 80% of all consumer Internet traffic will be online video. This year, it was predicted to represent 74% of all online traffic.

More than one billion people use YouTube─that’s one-third of Internet users. They also watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube every day.

Since 2014, Facebook has averaged one billion video views every day. Facebook also reported that in 2015, people in the United States posted 94% more videos on the social network. Globally, 75% more were posted.

2. Mobile devices are driving growth.

There are more smartphones on the planet than people. There are few people that don’t own a smartphone these days. Mobile devices have changed the way that we communicate and how we consume content.

In the last five years, mobile data traffic has grown 18 times over. Last year alone, it grew 63%.  What are people doing on their phones all the time? (Besides snapping selfies and playing games.) They are watching videos, both through social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat as well as streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Another report found that 40% of younger generations are watching native forms of video from their smartphone more often than they did a year ago. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), more than half (60%) of all mobile data traffic in 2016 was video.

By 2021, that rate will increase: over three-fourths (78%) of global mobile traffic will be video. Mobile connection speeds are also predicted to increase threefold to 20 Mbps by 2021, which could help overcome barriers to consume content such as buffering and slow connections.

For Millennials, viewing live video on a mobile device comes naturally─77% watch them on a tablet or a smartphone.

Video was already the most engaging and fastest-growing type of content online. However, live video growth is outpacing every other type of video content by 113%.

3. Everyone has a camera in their hand. 

Live video offers people the opportunity to directly interact with the content that they consume in real-time. It’s also easier for anyone to create a live video than ever before. People are taking part in the news process. They are becoming well known vloggers and social media stars. This is possible, because practically everyone has access to tools to create video and platforms to share it with the world.

The camera on smartphones may not be as high-end as professional cameras. However, they have come a long way. For everyday purposes, they work perfectly. Conveniently, we almost always have them with us.

4. More are competing in the space.

A healthy level of competition can drive market growth. When it comes to live video, some of the biggest businesses are battling it out to be number one.

Before, there weren’t many players in the livestreaming space. Television had a foothold with live broadcasts.

In 2007, live streaming online started to gain some traction with sites like The site later became Twitch, a live streaming site for gamers. YouTube rolled out its livestreaming platform years ago. However, it has only been in the past year that it incorporated live video into its mobile app. Plus, it’s only available to those with 10,000 subscribers or more. If the channel wants to compete against Facebook and Periscope, that may change very soon.

Periscope, the livestreaming app acquired by Twitter, has had over 200 million live broadcasts. Close to 110 years of live video content is watch every day.

Facebook Live has really pushed the live viewership trend. As the largest social network in the world, and the third most visited website in the world with 1.23 billion daily active users, they already had the audience size needed to set a trend. Their promotion and drive to popularize live video helped establish that it is not a phase.

5. Millennials

In recent years, Millennials (ages 18 to 34) have driven the adoption and popularity of multiple technologies and apps, from wearable devices and smartphones to Snapchat and Vine.

The generation has consistently been the first to adopt new technologies, so who do you think is driving the livestreaming trend? If you guessed Millennials, you’re right. Based on a recent study, over 63% of Millennial Internet users reported watching live video in 2016.

In comparison to television viewing, they also watch online video more often. In a global Deloitte study, 61% of those that have a streaming subscription name online video services as one of their top three most-valued paid services.

Millennials use online streaming subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu more than they use cable or satellite television. When it comes to live video, online wins out against TV too. For ages 14 to 25, more time is spent watching streaming services than live TV.

6. People want to feel more connected to their online community.

Many might say that our growing use of social media platforms and apps to communicate online has impaired our ability to interact on a deeper level. However, one study found that students who updated their Facebook often felt more socially connected and had lower levels of loneliness.

Of course, too much reliance on technology can negatively impact anyone’s life, but the study pointed out the fact that humans are wired to be social beings. We want to interact with others, whether it is online or in-person. Because live video allows us to engage and interact in real-time with our friends and brands it is socially rewarding.

For consumers, live video offers an inside look into brands that they may consider buying from.  Pre-recorded videos can be edited, manipulated and shaped, so that it always reflects positively on the brand. On the other hand, live video gives a level of transparency that is difficult to attain from a regular video. They can interact with the people behind the product, and it makes a significant impact on their buying decisions.

Live video streaming is more than just a trend or a fad. People are creating, engaging and sharing live video every day. If you haven’t already, it may be time to seriously consider adding live video into your marketing strategy. Have some questions first? Connect with 10twelve to find out more about live video and other trends, tools and techniques for your business.