When you’re building a new application or service offering, or adding new features to an existing one, there are multiple stakeholders to satisfy: The marketing team is begging for deeper customer engagement, the CFO wants to increase revenue and the board is looking for greater returns. Whatever your platform, incorporating user generated content with live video streaming (LiveUGC) is an excellent way for the development team to meet all of these needs.
The most well-known examples of offerings that include live user-generated video are social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. However, a LiveUGC component can be added to just about any app or service. Newer entrants to the market are experiencing great success by focusing on a specific audience or use case, and tailoring their live streaming to fit it.
Of course, to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to make the experience worthwhile for your stakeholders and customers, and you’ll need to make it work for every user, every time. Wowza Media Systems™ offers technology solutions that allow any organization to harness the power of LiveUGC and easily build it into their website, app or service.
In this blog on user generated content with live video streaming, we explore:
The results of our survey on how organizations are implementing LiveUGC.
The ways user-generated content is being deployed in live broadcasting apps and services across industries.
Examples of the best UGC live streaming apps available today.
How to build UGC into your live video streaming web application, mobile app, desktop platform or service offering using Wowza technology.
Wowza’s Report on User Generated Content With Live Video Streaming
In March of 2018, Wowza commissioned Tim Siglin—founder of nonprofit streaming organization HelpMe! Stream and a regular contributor to Streaming Media Magazine—to conduct a survey. It gathered a total of 354 responses from broadcasters, network operators and streaming professionals across a range of industry verticals, and explored preferences, trends and tools in LiveUGC platform
LiveUGC drives engagement and awareness.
The top reasons companies integrate LiveUGC into their apps or services are to deepen customer engagement (55 percent), increase brand awareness (20 percent) and drive sales or conversions (18 percent).
The top UGC platforms respondents use are those that host video only (used by 84 percent), followed by those that host video, images and text (71 percent).
Mobile is king in user-generated video creation and consumption.
Mobile apps are the most popular use case among respondents whose companies have already implemented UGC (36 percent) or LiveUGC (38 percent).
When respondents are asked about the most important factor in delivering a great LiveUGC experience for end users, considerations for mobile devices top the list: device/platform flexibility (50 percent), mobile playback (43 percent) and mobile live-stream publishing (40 percent).
Respondents recognize the value of live streaming user generated content, but are still uncertain about implementation.
While 45 percent of respondents plan to incorporate mobile LiveUGC in the next two years, 75 percent could not name the tools they plan to use to build it into their offering.
Over the next year, 37 percent of respondents say their organization plans to keep using an existing solution for adding LiveUGC to its app or service; 34 percent are uncertain, and 23 percent plan to use a new solution.
When asked what type of app, platform or service their organization plans to add LiveUGC capabilities to, 20 percent of respondents are uncertain.
UGC capabilities are more popular among traditional media, live event and over-the-top (OTT) broadcasters than they are among our overall survey population.
Respondents who work in broadcast/media, OTT, live event broadcasting and live sports use UGC platforms—as well as LiveUGC capabilities within those platforms—at higher rates than the sample as a whole.
What Is User Generated Content?
User generated content is any type of content—whether it’s a blog post, photo, video or podcast—created by users of an app, a platform or a service, and made publicly available to other users of that app, platform or service. The content must be original, or modified from its original version in some way, and is generally created by users voluntarily and for free.
Advantages of Building a User Generated Content Platform
There are many benefits of implementing UGC into your app or service offering, including:
Unprecedented levels of customer engagement.
Social proof and authenticity for consumers who are skeptical of traditional advertising.
Reduced turnover for your platform and higher numbers of click-throughs and conversions.
Greater authority and SEO value for your brand.
Why Build a User Generated Content Platform With Live Video Streaming?
Video is king, and will comprise an astounding 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021, according to forecasts by Cisco. Live videos, in particular, are growing quickly in popularity, predicted to account for 13 percent of all internet traffic in the same time frame.
Our survey data reflects these trends: The top UGC platforms used by the respondents to our survey are those that host video only, or those that include text, images and video.
While hosting on-demand video is a great way to source content for your platform or service, LiveUGC is the most powerful tool of all for attracting and engaging audiences. Why? Platforms that host LiveUGC typically include interactive capabilities, such as the ability for viewers to comment or send badges, emojis and/or gifts during the live broadcast—encouraging users to participate in real time. Some platforms even allow broadcasters to drive product sales or host auctions within the live stream.
Indeed, the top reasons respondents cite for including LiveUGC in their company’s products or services are that it deepens customer engagement, raises brand awareness and leads to sales or conversions:
Live user generated video is effective because it allows you to reach your target audiences through the mediums and channels they’re already consuming. It also creates a feedback mechanism between your platform or service and its users, and builds a virtual community around your offering.
Advantages of User Generated Content Platforms With Live Video Streaming
Video requires multiple senses to consume. Viewers must watch as well as listen, increasing the likelihood that they’ll absorb the messaging and take further action. On average, viewers remember 95 percent of a message when they watch it, versus just 10 percent if they read it.
Showing rather than telling adds credibility. In an era of “fake news,” when consumers increasingly seek to validate information sources, LiveUGC allows the viewer direct access to the source. That’s why 94 percent of avid gamers cite watching gameplay footage as a crucial factor when making a purchase decision.
It strengthens relationships with your target audience. Creating an open dialogue between viewers and publishers builds authority and trust for the host platform. In a recent survey, 78 percent of executives said the biggest benefit of going live was that it enabled deeper interactions with their viewers.
Live video has longer viewing times. On internet-connected TVs, the average viewing time for live videos is more than 42 minutes, compared to just over five minutes for on-demand—and on desktop, live video viewing time averages 34.5 minutes, with VOD at 2.6 minutes.
LiveUGC returns a higher average revenue per user. Including in-stream ads allows you to capitalize on every view—as well as the opportunity to offer premium, ad-free subscriptions. You can also allow users to subscribe to their favorite streamer; buy and swap badges and gifts; or participate in leaderboard competitions.
Users can go live from anywhere. New streaming codecs and protocols such as H.265, AV1, WebRTC and SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) enable interactive streaming on consumer mobile devices and over suboptimal networks. And streaming media server software and cloud-based services, such as those offered by Wowza, provide an easy way to build UGC streaming into your platform.
Types of Interactive Video
Apps and services that incorporate interactive UGC streaming are becoming popular across a wide range of industry verticals. Here are a few sample use cases in which live streaming UGC is taking off:
Social Media and Networking
You don’t have to build the next Facebook to create an effective social media and networking platform. Today, there are a number of social UGC apps that revolve almost entirely around live-streaming video, such as YouNow and Live.Me. These allow users to broadcast to the whole world, or simply to video chat with friends and family, and most are geared toward the amateur live streamer.
Gaming and Esports Platforms
Playing video games is now one of the most popular forms of UGC content, thanks to the large and active online communities found on game-streaming and esports platforms. While Twitch, with 15 million daily active users, is the clear leader in this market, LiveUGC can be integrated into everyday gaming apps and services—even on mobile. You can easily turn any game into a live-streaming platform by building in screen-sharing and real-time commenting capabilities.
Live Event Broadcasting Platforms
Live event broadcasting, particularly for sports, concerts and festivals, has a complicated relationship with UGC. Most live event producers and broadcasters view LiveUGC platforms as distribution channels—but broadcast rights holders typically attempt to block or remove fan streams that may conflict with rights.
However, a growing number of organizations are now building their own platforms that are specialized for specific audiences, allowing users to share their experiences of non-rights-restricted events: for example, non-professional or youth sports; musical, comedy or dramatic performances by up-and-coming artists; and academic, professional or political events.
Influencer Marketing and E-commerce Platforms
Influencer marketing involves a brand or organization recruiting an influential personality—whether that’s a celebrity, a thought leader or an average Joe with a large and loyal online following—to do their marketing for them. On influencer marketing platforms, influencers naturally weave product placement into their own interactive shows, which may be hosted on either the brand’s or the influencer’s channels.
Some e-commerce platforms allow users to create live streams for selling products, where viewers can engage with them as if they were salesperson at a brick-and-mortar store: asking questions, seeing different views or colors of a product and, ultimately, purchasing directly through the app or service. Streamers may sell individual products, whether secondhand or of their own creation, or they may have entire product lines and collections.
To learn more about the tools and considerations for building each type of live video streaming user generated content platform.
Best Interactive Video Platforms With User Generated Content
Here are some examples of the best live-streaming UGC platforms by category:
Social Media and Networking
Gaming and Esports
Live Event Broadcasting
Influencer Marketing and E-commerce
Build a Streaming App or Service With Live User Generated Content
Like other areas of streaming, LiveUGC reflects greater trends in computing and content consumption. While live user generated video opens up a world of exciting possibilities, it also brings some challenges that may seem daunting to organizations looking to implement it for the first time.
Despite the vast majority of companies believing LiveUGC helps increase customer en
gagement, brand awareness and sales, many are still uncertain about whether they can or should implement it in their offerings. They are also unsure how exactly to go about this, and what solutions to use.
As this data shows, even video and broadcasting professionals may not realize the solutions that are available to help developers at any organization build LiveUGC capabilities into their offerings. It’s now easier than ever to create high-quality, reliable interactive experiences that engage global audiences on any platform.
To successfully build a video app or service incorporating live user generated content, you must meet user demands for:
Global Delivery and Scalability
LiveUGC experiences are hugely popular among users all over the world. While this presents a great opportunity for content creators, it also comes with some unique challenges.
To deliver a high-quality stream, you need to locate stream processing resources (i.e., those for transcoding, transrating and transmuxing) as close as possible to the source. It’s also best to have delivery nodes located as close as possible to your end viewers. When users are scattered all over the globe, this can quickly become complicated. However, there are technology solutions that address this challenge, which we’ll cover in the last section.
Mobile Capture and Playback
Mobile devices are being used for an ever-growing number of use cases—including live-streaming video, and especially for user-generated content.
Our survey data reflects this trend: Mobile apps are the most popular use case among respondents whose companies currently incorporate both UGC and LiveUGC. Desktop applications are a close second, followed by service offerings.
This reflects larger trends in content creation and consumption: If you’re going to leverage LiveUGC, it’s absolutely essential to have a mobile app that supports high-quality, reliable streaming delivery and playback.
Cross-Platform Delivery Through a Video Streaming App Builder
Users access content on wide range of devices and platforms. This presents a challenge for organizations in having to develop multiple apps and delivery models simultaneously. Luckily, there is a vast array of tools and technologies available to help developers of any background build flexible apps and platforms that support LiveUGC content delivery to any device.
For example, creating a streaming workflow and passing streaming-centric commands is often challenging for even seasoned developers. Software Development Kits (SDKs) simplify the process and get developers up and running quickly, offering ready access to mobile streaming APIs and best practices.
There are also several cross-mobile-platform development frameworks, such as React Native and Xamarin, that circumvent the problem of parallel development in multiple programming languages. Organizations can either build applications from scratch, or utilize SDK “wrappers” built for these frameworks to satisfy their market needs with a single project.
How to Build an Interactive User Generated Content Platform With Wowza Technology
Here’s a look at how the Wowza product portfolio can help you create engaging, interactive streaming experiences:
The Wowza GoCoder mobile app and SDK provide an easy way to build capture, delivery and playback from any iOS or Android device. This allows users to both create and play high-quality live video content on mobile—from anywhere in the world, at any time. Benefits of using the Wowza GoCoder™ SDK include:
Accelerating development and shortening the time to value.
Ensuring compatibility across a variety of devices and OS versions.
Providing a stable development framework.
Access to a tested and proven feature set.
A built-in support network, including a community of developers working from a common toolset.
With Wowza Streaming Engine media server software, you can add proven streaming technology to your offerings, your way. Start with a single on-premises server, and build all the way out to a global network on public or private cloud resources. Wowza Streaming Engine supports all the most innovative functionality, such as:
Integration and compatibility with other popular tools.
The ability to adapt to new technologies as they become available.
by Wowza Media Systems