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Faced with stiff competition from Facebook, Twitter, and a handful of upstarts, Google-owned YouTube has announced it will be adding a live mobile streaming option to its own native app. This is according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and other company officials.
Introducing YouTube Live: Google’s mobile streaming app
Over the past 15-odd months, such platforms as Periscope, Facebook Live, and Meerkat have risen from obscurity and quickly become some of the hottest social networking platforms on the internet. And though YouTube has had live streaming features on its desktop platform for years, the company has been noticeably absent in terms of mobile live streaming.
Many observers and fans have found this strange, since mobile live streaming is far more valuable and versatile than browser-based live streaming. It appears that Google and YouTube have finally listened.
In late June, YouTube began to offer mobile streaming on its app. However, there’s a bit of a catch. Only certain people will be able to use it. Consider it a soft release.
You may not be able to try it for yourself yet, but the few who have tried YouTube mobile live streaming are saying positive things.
“Simplicity is the name of the game when going live with video like this, and YouTube’s app appears to have made things quite easy,” Engadget’s Nathan Ingraham remarks.
“There will be a new ‘capture’ button in the app; after hitting that, you can shoot a photo to use as a thumbnail, add a quick description and start broadcasting. The app lets you decide whether or not you want a chat feature to be enabled, and you can also elect to notify your subscribers when you go live.”
YouTube’s mobile live streaming app is clearly a response to Periscope and Facebook Live, but company officials aren’t worried that competition will erode their strong market share.
“Competition leads to innovation,” Wojcicki says.
“We love it.”
How can businesses use YouTube Live?
Millennials clearly appreciate live streaming with friends, and plenty of people use it for meaningless conversations and interactions. But live streaming has much greater potential than that.
From a business perspective, we’ve already seen how valuable platforms like Periscope can be. So it stands to reason that YouTube’s new mobile live video feature could become even more useful in the evolving digital marketing mix.
Below are a few ways businesses may be able to leverage YouTube mobile live streaming going into the future.
Meerkat — one of the very first live streaming platforms to hit the internet — launched at the annual SXSW conference in 2015. Since then, live streaming has swiftly become a staple at conferences, gatherings, and live events around the country in the ensuing year and a half.
Look for YouTube to continue this trend. If your business participates in or hosts a live event, there’s no better way to increase your audience than by live streaming at least some portions of your event. It’s a way to add instant value.
Another major area where businesses may be able to use live streaming is in customer service. Think about all of the times you, as a customer, have had to vocally convey complicated information to a customer service rep over a service number.
With live streaming, this is no longer an issue. Whether you have a water leak in your home and need a plumber’s help immediately, are having trouble installing a car part, or have to show your insurance agent the damage to your vehicle, live steaming makes all these tasks much easier.
One of the best features of live streaming video is the lack of any delay. When breaking news happens, you don’t have to spend an hour writing an article, publishing it, then sharing it across various platforms.
You can simply stream a live-video announcement and be one of the first ones on the story. It’s the real-time nature of live streaming that makes it so valuable and progressive. Not even live TV can match it.
For years, brands have been doing product demonstrations on YouTube. Customers love these up-close-and-personal looks at products and frequently cite them as a key deciding factor in purchasing decisions.
Now insert the word “live” before these product demonstrations and you’ve got an entirely new tool to use for engaging customers and gathering feedback.
Beware: Don’t ignore live streaming content
Five years ago, you would have found it challenging to convince someone that live streaming video would eventually hold tremendous value in terms of digital marketing and customer engagement. Yet here we are in 2016, and three of the largest Internet tech companies (Google, Facebook, and Twitter) are all heavily invested in this growing content medium.
If you’re committed to reaching customers and allowing your marketing strategy to evolve, mobile live streaming will surely have to be a part of the equation. As YouTube’s mobile streaming platform evolves, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares and contrasts with the competition.
One thing is certain: mobile live streaming isn’t about to go out of style any time soon.