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Mark Lendrum

By Mark Lendrum

Strategic Solutions Director at Brightcove

How to Build Interactive Live Streams Correctly


Interactive Live Streams

While interactive content and shoppable videos are nothing new, the demand for live commerce and live interactivity videos continues to grow. Not only are viewers showing higher engagement rates, brands and retailers are recognizing their potential to drive higher conversions, connect with younger buyers, and boost sales.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that live commerce has been shown to generate up to 10x conversion uplift. In fact, the U.S. livestream commerce market is projected to account for $35 billion in sales and 3.3% of all U.S. e-commerce by 2024.

However, the technical complexity of live streaming, particularly when incorporating interactive elements, can be daunting. Furthermore, understanding the nuances of interactive videos can be especially challenging for some content creators.

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the benefits, the technical requirements, and the challenges you’ll need to navigate. You’ll learn how to harness the power of live interactivity and ensure you get it right to maximize its potential.

Business Benefits of Live Interactivity

For starters, adding interactivity to your live events helps you stand out from the millions of videos that are uploaded to the internet every day. But there are several other ways it can benefit your business.

Deeper Community Building

Interactivity plays a crucial role in helping viewers feel as if they are truly a part of your community. This community-building can extend beyond your brand and products by fostering connections between like-minded viewers who are engaged with your video. Allowing them to actively participate in the content facilitates social interaction and creates a more dynamic and enjoyable experience for all.

Better Audience Feedback

Another key benefit of interactive video is the ability to gather instantaneous feedback and insights. Traditional metrics such as video views are table stakes by now and by themselves are no longer sufficient. Today’s creators must understand which aspects of their livestream resonate best with viewers and incorporate these understandings into future content. Data gained from interactivity, like viewer behavior, preferences, and demographics, will offer insights that can also help achieve other key goals like sales, subscribers, and retention.

Enhanced User Experience

Moreover, live interactivity can enhance the overall user experience by integrating seamlessly with various technology ecosystems, such as Learning Management Systems (LMSs), e-commerce platforms, marketing technology (martech), HR platforms, and Over-the-Top (OTT) media platforms. Adding interactivity to any of these platforms should be an essential part of the viewer’s overall digital experience. Using that interactivity to deliver greater personalization creates a unique end-user experience tailored to your company and specific to each viewer’s journey.

Ideal Cyclical Journey

When implemented effectively, live interactivity can propel users into the ideal cyclical journey: content consumption, engagement with your digital experiences, positive response to calls to action, and brand affinity growth. Successful completion of this cycle will encourage users to share their experiences with others. The end result is amplified reach and increased impact of your interactive video content, bringing even more users into the cycle where it can repeat and continue.

Technical Requirements of Live Interactivity

With a thorough understanding of these benefits, you may be ready to level up your live interactivity but questioning what it takes to start implementation. Short answer: that depends. Why? It may be helpful to break the technical requirements down into two categories: basic setup and advanced setup.

Basic Setup

A basic setup has a couple main requirements. Online video platform (OVP) for content distribution and playback Platform capable of handling video overlays and calls to action (CTAs) However, this only scratches the surface of live interactivity's potential.

Advanced Setup

To truly unlock the power of live interactivity, creators need to go beyond the basics and integrate their interactive video platform with other systems, such as e-commerce platforms, LMSs, and marketing technologies. An advanced setup in this sense means more than simply connecting the two. Rather, it should enable interactivity that is personalized and unique based on specific attributes of a user’s profile pulled from the system you’re connecting to.

An advanced setup will open up new possibilities, for example:

  • Connecting with e-commerce platforms to allow users to buy a product from within the video without having to navigate to a purchasing page.
  • Personalized calls to action based on previous purchase history.
  • For internal use cases, like training, the LMS system and player working together to create in-player quizzes, establish success criteria, and determine whether the user passed.
  • Create customized content recommendations based on user behavior within the LMS.

These scenarios offer a glimpse of the potential, but there are countless additional opportunities for your particular use case. By producing a well-integrated interactive video experience that communicates with other technologies, it greatly enhances the end-user experience and becomes an invaluable asset for creators.

How Brightcove Can Help

Brightcove Live Interactivity simplifies the advanced setup. With features including surveys, polls, quizzes, real-time chat, and shoppable e-commerce, you’ll be fully prepared to deliver captivating experiences that boost live audience engagement.

For example, Brightcove’s proprietary chat technology allows you to incorporate chat into live videos and provides greater control over branding and user experience.

With mobile web-first interactive player overlays, you can also create a consistent and visually appealing experience that aligns with your brand while seamlessly integrating with product management platforms. Retail and e-commerce businesses will also appreciate the easy-to-manage events console that gives you the ability to add product information to the livestream in real time.

Although live-streaming can be stressful and challenging, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t realize the many opportunities and benefits it holds. If you’re nervous about truly going live but still want to incorporate live interactivity features, Brightcove Simulive and/or Cloud Playout could be the answer. These solutions allow you to pre-record your content, air it as “live” when you choose, and then simulate a live experience complete with live interactivity features. They essentially combine the best of both worlds while mitigating the risks and costs. Additionally, these features will be automatically transitioned from your live event to a video on demand (VOD) asset that can continue to drive value over and over again.

For creators looking to take their interactive experiences to the next level, developer events and APIs allow you to customize and build upon these features.

With the rich analytics on both a user and aggregate level, you’ll be able to understand which of these interactive elements are driving the most engagement.

Challenges of Live Interactive Events

Clearly integrating live interactivity into video content offers significant benefits and opportunities. However, it’s important to be aware of the challenges and pitfalls that could occur when incorrectly implemented.

First, it’s important to strike the right balance. While incorporating interactive elements is appealing, overuse or poor implementation can distract viewers from your content. It can also inhibit the actions you want viewers to take as a result of viewing the content.

You should also keep in mind that interactivity goes well beyond merely incorporating shoppable video within a player. The most effective interactive experiences are those that integrate seamlessly within the user's journey across your digital properties. Interactive elements shouldn’t be jarring or overly apparent, but designed to subtly enhance the user experience and gently guide them towards desired actions on your site.

Live Interactivity Done Right

Successfully implementing live interactivity requires having the right mindset that focuses on creating a seamless user experience. In addition to the right technology, it also requires that all of the systems work together harmoniously. Brightcove Live Interactivity offers a comprehensive solution that delivers everything you need to enhance audience engagement and create captivating interactive experiences in your live events. By leveraging Brightcove's powerful features and adopting a user-centric approach, you’ll unlock the full potential of live interactivity to help achieve your goals.

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