Live Video: Customer Engagement in Real Time!

Live video is being adopted as an effective marketing way by many brands including AT&T, McDonald’s, Maybelline and Airbnb (Dietrich & Weller, 2017). Live videos of McDonald’s and Maybelline were linked directly to specific products that brands are aimed at promoting, like a combo and a lipstick. As for Airbnb, this brand chose to live stream on Twitter and Periscope by presenting to customers the beautiful homes and enjoyable experiences. This strategy has reinforced Airbnb’s positioning of connecting people and conveyed the message to consumers in a more compelling way.

According to Cisco (2016), 70% of Internet traffic were drawn by video in 2015 and this percentage is expected to grow into 82% in 2020. What’s more, the engagement generated by a live video is triple as much as that of a non-live one (Barber, 2016).

What makes live video so effective?

The power of real-time engagement (DeMers, 2016). Live videos bring what is going on to the screens of audience and provide them a new perspective to see the brands and the events. With immediate comments and interactions, they enrich customer engagement and enhance brand experiences. For the audience, they can participate in the video and become part of the story instead of just being a viewer (Dietrich & Weller, 2017). AT&T delivered a live show on Facebook, in which wishes and stories were read by Santa. These stories were gathered from AT&T customers with kids and seamlessly integrated into the video. With decoration and Christmas atmosphere, the audience can fully experience the show and get involved to influence its development in real time.

The power of celebrities and influencers (Clode, 2016). Live videos open a channel for the audience to know celebrities when they are off the stage, which can be a win-win strategy for both brands and celebrities. Maybelline used celebrities to try their lipsticks and interact with the audience, so as to improve attention. Saks Fifth Avenue posted a live of a fashion influencer who tried their coats and gave wearing suggestions.

Live videos are not merely valued by brands in fashion, beauty and lifestyle (Lee & Weng, 2017). McDonald’s started a live show on Twitch, telling a story about finding a satisfying meal. After the combo was delivered, the broadcaster made comments on the food with the audience participating in the discussion.

Audience engagement, right people and great content make live videos work (Dietrich & Weller, 2017). Do you think live video will become more popular in marketing in the future? Will it be more suitable for certain kinds of brands? Have you seen any good examples of brands using live videos? Why do you find them interesting and compelling? Have you seen any bad ones? Which parts have gone wrong to make those live videos ineffective?




Barber, N. (2016, April 1). Facebook’s live API: It’s time to evaluate your livestreaming strategy. Forrester. Retrieved from

Cisco. (2016). White paper: Cisco VNI forecast and methodology, 2015-2020. Cisco. Retrieved from

Clode, J. (2016, May 11). Maybelline sells 10,000 lipsticks in China within two hours. Social Brand Watch. Retrieved from

DeMers, J. (2016, November 23). 5 awesome examples of brands using live video for marketing. Forbes. Retrieved from

Dietrich, T., & Weller, S. (2017). AT&T thanks santa live: Loyalty done differently. WARC. Retrieved from;T_THANKS_Santa_LIVE_Loyalty_Done_Differently/110437

Lee, S., & Weng, J. (2017). McDonald’s: Dual combo on Twitch. WARC. Retrieved from

About sunniexyy

From Guangzhou, China Major in Broadcast Journalism in Communication University of China, First-year student in Communication Management in USC Worked as an intern in Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Edelman
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7 Responses to Live Video: Customer Engagement in Real Time!

  1. pfistere says:

    In my opinion, live videos seem to be more authentic. As a consumer, I enjoy interacting with brands on live video because it often brings value and knowledge to my day. Using live video, brands can feature not only celebrities, but also average individuals that work for the respective company. As a consumer, you can put a name and face to the brand, which increases brand identification and loyalty. Most recently, I’ve been enjoying “takeovers” of brand accounts. For example, I follow one account called Mindbodygreen on Instagram. They’ve featured several wellness warriors, which then drives me to their respective pages. It’s a great way to learn more and it feels more personal. It makes me like the brand more. Finally, we know that video engagement is critical in marketing these days, so it’s no surprise. I expect that live video will continue to be a powerful means of engaging with prospective consumers and showcasing brands.

  2. labbasi says:

    I think live videos are smart marketing tool and will be developed more into marketing endeavors. I think there are some obvious brands that a live video can work for such as a makeup brand doing a tutorial/how to look. But even TV channels are using live videos to attract attention with behind of the scenes looks with the cast before a trailer is released. It’s like Snapchat but on a different level. It is more interactive and can be longer than a 10 second video. The biggest risk is consumer reaction being heavily negative and the brand ambassador/video host unable to hide their disappointment in the reactions.

  3. giotta says:

    I agree with both comments above. I believe video is quickly becoming the preferred method for online and social media marketing. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube all seem to be moving towards a focus on live videos and videos in general.

    I think videos do a better job of conveying emotions than images for two reasons. First, video allows viewers to read non-verbal cues like facial expressions and gestures. Second, video allows viewers to pick-up verbal signals like changes in pitch and tone. This ultimately allows viewers to become more involved with the messages being communicated.

    I have never personally tuned in to any of these live marketing video streams. However, I could see them being very effective for many products. Often when I am researching a product, I go straight to customer reviews to see how and if the product works. Using a live video to show how effective, or how to use a product, could be a great way to reduce consumer uncertainty.

  4. mengjunw says:

    I agree that live videos could be a supplementary tool, which enables audiences to experience products or services in a virtual way. Live videos also is a tool helps brands build credibility among users, especially when the video involves specific real users. Airbnb was a good example who took advantage of this. Moreover, live videos invite audiences into the conversation happened between users and brands, also between users. Also, brands can collect real feedback from audiences very quickly, both positive and negative, and makes adjustments based on the feedbacks.

    However, considering that live videos always in lower quality compared to TV commercials or other commercials made by professionals, brands need to pay more attention to the quality side.

  5. ruoqihao says:

    It is very exciting to see content marketing efforts are directing to live video. 2016 video marketing expanded and in 2017 this trend is still spiking up. Facebook has put a lot of budget promoting their live video function (millions of dollars) and now Instagram and Snapchat have joined the live video battlefield. It is said that a cutting-edge technology changes the social game (Jimmy Rohampton, 2017). It is so true. Live video is reshaping the marketing world of 2017.

  6. Ashley Jiang says:

    Livestreaming is definitely the big thing for digital marketers, and I’m amazed by the statistics you gave out that 70% Internet traffic were driven by video in 2015, and that the number will continue to grow in the future. I can see the trend of digital information consumption evolving from text to image to video.

    When thinking of new technologies, VR pops into mind. And there are news saying that some VR livestreaming services will become available soon. The company NextVR said it would partner with Live Nation to livestream live concerts with Virtual Reality in the future. It is certainly a field marketers need to pay attention to.

  7. anamrodr says:

    Live video marketing is certainly an attractive means for engaging with consumers. As mentioned in the previous comments, the live aspect provides an unfiltered approach to communication that conveys credibility for the brand. There is no space for embellishments, or editing, the content is straight to the point. Of course, there are some downsides to this type of online marketing strategy on the brand’s side, in that they are openly held accountable for anything that goes during the live broadcast. As Laddan mentioned, the physical cues play a major role in the message and the real-time interaction with the audience. It is very risky but this is a great strategy for brands, especially new ones to gain consumer following.