Episode 122: How live video streaming is changing marketing with Jonathan Poynter

This episode brought up an exciting topic on how live video streaming is changing marketing, interviewing Jonathan Poynter- Founder of Nimbler Digital and Streaming House.

Show Notes

This episode brought up an exciting topic on how live video streaming is changing marketing, interviewing Jonathan Poynter- Founder of Nimbler Digital and Streaming House. During the pandemic, evolution of Livestreaming has shortened the gap between physical contact with brand and digital world. How important is a host to livestream success? What should you do to increase your conversion rate with livestream content? How to grow your audiences/viewers? – all will be explained in this podcast.

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Simon Dell: So, welcome to the Cemoh Marketing Podcast. Today, I have with me, Jonathan Poynter. How are you?

Jonathan Poynter: Hey, Simon. I’m well, I’m very well.

Simon Dell: Good, good. Now, you’re the managing director of StreamingHouse. Do you want to give us the quick elevator pitch as to what the hell StreamingHouse do out there in the world?

Jonathan Poynter: Yeah. Look, streaming is one of the most fastest growing and most effective forms of content that business can use, and we kind of saw that coming in 2018. So, it took some of the video resources that we had in our digital agency and set up a specialist company for live streaming.

Simon Dell: Okay. So, as you said, there’s been a massive growth, and especially with COVID and things like that. It’s just, you know, there’s been an explosion in people wanting to stream content. Platforms like Twitch, I guess, have really helped contribute to what you guys are doing.

Jonathan Poynter: It’s sort of where it began. Twitch was about the second platform for live streaming, and it’s sort of where streaming as a phenomenon started. It’s interesting. About a month ago, I had to write an article that is the evolution of live streaming, and Twitch was a really big part of that.

Simon Dell: I’m pretty asked… I go straight to a question that I would probably normally ask at the end, but now we’ve just talked about Twitch. Where do you see that evolution occurring? I mean, we’re in 2021 now. We’re reaching the end of 2021. What can you see in the future that perhaps we, as normal people, can’t see? What do you think is going to be the end result?

Jonathan Poynter: Look, this answer is going to be part hope and part reflection. You know, one of the things I’ve seen over the last two years, particularly, is that gap between physical contact with brands. We go into stores, we go to conferences. You know, whether it’s B2B or B2C, that gap between the physical and the digital world. You know, “Here are our slick ads. Here’s our slick website. You know, here’s our slick social.”

The gap has been getting closer and closer, and as a streaming advocate, everything we do is kind of designed to try and bring that gap closer and closer. COVID and all the lockdowns that have happened over the last couple of years, that sped that process up a hell of a lot. You know, big conferences now have to be livestreamed and virtual, and that’s where businesses are starting to use it.

But there are smaller, more bleeding edge companies that are starting to look at really clever ways of mixing that physical space with that digital space, bringing it together and having consumers operate in either, and even crossing the line sometimes. So, you know, where it’s going is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to be exciting. We think it’s going to be really exciting.

Simon Dell: Yeah. And I guess the interesting thing with Twitch, I mean, Twitch isn’t particularly old itself, is it? When was that founded?

Jonathan Poynter: Oh, I couldn’t tell you the year, but it’s maybe 10 years.

Simon Dell: Okay. I mean, the thing that sort of really struck me – and I’m not a watcher of livestreams, certainly not people gaming and things like that. I mean, I have watched Twitch and I understand how it works and those kind of platforms. But what I found incredibly interesting was, you know, when I bought a new smart TV six months ago, you know, next thing, I’ve got all these apps on my smart TV and there is Twitch. It’s a TV channel. You know, these livestreaming platforms are now real TV channels.

Jonathan Poynter: Yeah. Well, I mean, you look at the likes of Netflix and Stan and those streaming megaliths, they’re where it started. But then there’s this other end that Twitch has sort of started, and now there are other platforms coming on. And of course, when you’ve got digital TVs, it’s very easy just to have that as an additional channel.

Simon Dell: Yeah. Do you think that’s where Netflix will be going, is back into the live… I mean, I know some of these streaming channels have now doing live sports as well, but that’s… You know, which is kind of almost back to where we all started from. But do you think Netflix will be signing up influencers or streaming influencers?

Jonathan Poynter: I don’t think Netflix will be. Yeah, I don’t think Netflix will be, but I know that brands will be. There’s a there’s a new trend out there just recently where influencers are being set up to do a livestream on behalf of a brand. So, they call it an influencer takeover. But you know, you give an influencer a holiday, but give them all the gear to livestream and set up the calendar and the cadence for them.

And suddenly, those influencer lives – those influencers are livestreaming your product, your experience with so much more credibility than if you did it. So, that’s happening. There’s also, you know, we’ve been looking at – well, we’ve done an event recently for a university in Australia where we custom made a website for their livestream.

And the first year they did their open day, we had 14 different stages, all running on the one website with Live Q&A on every single stage. So, people watching from home could actually engage with the live streamers. So, the university kind of created their own channel.

This year, we’ve recently finished it in August. This year, we added another function to that website and that event, which was midway through your exploration of all of this live content, you could press a button and suddenly be having a one-on-one meeting within the website with a lecturer, sort of to ask them questions. “Hey, I’ve just been watching so and so, and I wanted to talk one on one with somebody,” and then they click out of that and they go back to the live stream.

So, really reducing that gap between the physical and the digital is paying dividends for a lot of companies. So, I think that’s where it’s going to go. I think the companies are going to drive it rather than the major streamers.

Simon Dell: Now, we’ve obviously talked about Twitch. What other channels do you see or what other platforms do you see that are making inroads or getting lots of eyeballs? LinkedIn, YouTube, are there others that we should be aware of?

Jonathan Poynter: Oh, look, I think the major social channels, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, they all give people the opportunity to livestream now. And businesses particularly are starting to take advantage of them. There are some advantages to using social channels as your livestreaming sort of decision, but there are also some disadvantages.

So, some companies are basically setting up their own video servers and building their own experiences or using other platforms like ON24 or Hopin or Bevy. There are huge platforms being built for businesses so that they can livestream easily, but don’t have to go to social media for it.

The disadvantage is you’ve got to build your own audience, whereas streaming on a social media platform, building an audience is very easy, and you get that benefit of quick awareness and quick reach. But if you want, say, privacy, if you want exclusivity, if you want analytics beyond what you can get from a social media channel or YouTube, etc., you can actually set your own up, or you can use one of these platforms for your livestreaming. And livestreaming is becoming, very quickly, something that every business needs to include in their content plan.

Simon Dell: And I guess, sort of taking that, what you’ve just said there, I’d go we all need to include live streaming, but how do they… Is it still there really just for the bigger businesses, or is this something that the SMEs can really take advantage of?

Jonathan Poynter: Totally, totally. You know, we’ve worked with a client that is a two-man business, and recommended for them – and they were a local business, right? They weren’t in a major capital city. But an easy livestream through social media and a small web page that was built for them. They promoted the hell out of it on social media and to their mailing lists.

It was a small local business, and they promoted their livestreams to a local audience, right. They gave themselves… They just got themselves guests to talk to. It was half an hour every second Thursday. One camera, one operator. And as long as they did it every two weeks over a period of five months, they built an incredible following. And it gave them the reach and awareness that we knew that they needed in their area.

Simon Dell: So, I mean, again, size of business is potentially relevant. Do you think it works better for certain industries, or…?

Jonathan Poynter: That’s a really good question. I actually don’t know the answer to that because we take every industry that comes to us, or every company that comes to us as a different customer case. But those B2B particularly, B2B marketers and brands, I think it is more immediately useful for conversion, whereas B2C, you’ve got different dynamics playing.

So, for B2B being thought leaders, interview panels, testimony – sorry, tutorials of your product, those sorts of things done live where you’ve got interactivity, other businesspeople can ask questions. You really are… You’re bringing them so much closer to that moment of conversion that it’s a fantastic tool.

So, B2C, I’ve seen it work well there as well. I don’t know that there is any industry that it doesn’t work for. I haven’t seen it work for mining yet, but you know, we’ve done a livestream panel discussion for an environmental consultancy who work with mining all the time, and it was incredibly successful for them.

Simon Dell: And is this the sort of thing – I guess I want to get into, now, the equipment, you know? Because that’s the sort of technical side of things. Because people are sitting there going, “Right. Well, I want to do this. I want to have a go at this.” What do they need from an equipment perspective?

Because we’ve got our LinkedIn approval for LinkedIn Live two or three months ago. And then when you look through all the specs, you need this little thing to plug into your computer, and you’re just like this – you know, all of a sudden, it gets a bit complicated. So, I was always a bit fearful. Is that kind of going to scare people off?

Jonathan Poynter: Yeah. Look, first, let me – a caveat. I’m not a technical person. I’m a marketer, right? So, I have technical people that do this for us. I’ve got a technical lead. I have picked up a bit over the last few years, though. And look, for some social media channels, you can do a livestream using your iPhone.

Simon Dell: Right.

Jonathan Poynter: It can be done. Right, you want to watch for quality and you want to make sure that you’re not reflecting on your own brand in a way that you didn’t expect to. So, you’re right to pause if it looks complicated. But you know, bottom line is a camera, a microphone and a switcher, which is about $400, $450 worth of equipment, and a few tutorials, and you can actually be on your way.

It’s not that expensive. You know, we have huge clients like Adobe and Macquarie University that obviously, we use the bells and whistles for. But we have a lot of smaller clients too where we do literally take one person, one laptop, one camera and a switcher, and we’re streaming away for them. So, it’s not a breeze, but it also isn’t that difficult either.

Simon Dell: And again, you touched on earlier about content, it being – you know, it could be tutorials and things like this. I guess… You know, I always tend to use the famous Jerry Seinfeld quote, the fact that he believes there’s no such thing as an attention span. And I’m going to paraphrase what he says here.

He sort of says that if you’re entertaining people, there is no such thing as an attention span. They’ll watch for hours. I guess the danger is that – I guess there’s a danger that you could be talking about something on a live stream that you find interesting that not necessarily everybody else finds interesting.

Jonathan Poynter: So true. So true. It’s like any content, you’ve got to pick your mark. One of the things we do recommend to a lot of companies is get a good host, right? If you’ve got a budget, get a good host. If you’ve got one within your organization, great. Use them. Make sure you rehearse them, but always make sure that that host is ready to move things along to rescue something if it’s going down a rabbit hole.

You know, there are skills involved in hosting a live discussion, just like there are skills involved in creating content on any platform. One of the great things – there’s a couple of things about that, though. One of the things about live streaming is the trust that it engenders for a brand, right? Our consumers are used to getting really slick messages all the time because we, as marketers prepare them carefully, right?

But you get on a live stream and you fluff something, right, that’s called authentic. That’s called authenticity. And you cannot buy that. You cannot buy trust for a brand, but you know, you start getting the giggles or, you know, you sort of fluff something and have to start again. The humanity in that brings the distance between a consumer and a brand together so quickly.

You can’t hide. And one of the examples we use is Donald Trump. His authenticity took him a very long way. And that was really what people in the States… I still can’t quite believe they did it, but they went for authentic over the sort of the traditionally marketed and packaged products.

Now, whether you agree with it or not, he was authentic, you know? And you just cannot buy that level of trust. And streaming, that live thing, you know, people love to watch a train wreck, right? But also, they like to see that you’re human, and they get that you’re just like me. And so, that’s a really big advantage of streaming.

Have a good host, though, because we did a stream a while ago. I won’t sort of mention it. It was a government organization, and it was a general manager of that organization. And you know, he did put the world to sleep. Now fortunately, the audience was well chosen. You know, it was a group of people that really did want to know what he was talking about, but the rest of us were struggling to stay awake. But you know, again, choose your audience and be human and everything works. It’s fabulous fun like that.

Simon Dell: It’s funny. I did a video. It wasn’t a live stream, but I did a video for a client of ours, a very dry subject matter, environmental control air… You know…

Jonathan Poynter: Fabulous stuff.

Simon Dell: Yeah, [inaudible 00:18:16], that kind of stuff. And they were demonstrating a piece of equipment. And when you watch back what was a 20-minute demo, you were just like, “Yeah, this is interesting content.” But from a person who doesn’t understand their business, you’re just sitting there going, “Uh… Yeah.”

But at the end of the day, the two things that came out of that, which is it echoes what you’ve said, was it was then, it was really authentic. They believed what they were talking about, and they were 100% invested in the product. You could tell that they were there. And the fact that it was a bit kind of… It was them. It was them raw. That actually made it quite appealing. You could have done this very shiny, glossy five-minute product demo, and lost the authenticity behind the people doing it.

Jonathan Poynter: That is what happens, you know?

Simon Dell: Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Poynter: There’s a couple of points there, too. We’re pushing our clients these days, “Always try and make your livestream interactive,” right? Have your audience there. But I’ve just put up a blog post on our website about five things you can do to increase the conversion rate of your livestream content.

Now, if you’ve got interactivity, whether it’s an anonymous Q&A, whether it’s a chat thread, whether it’s polling, you can put all of these things together with your livestream, and your audience is actually participating. It’s a great way to get some feedback on how the content’s going. You know, hopefully you’ve done your homework and you’ve targeted the right audience.

But if you haven’t and you’ve got some feedback mechanisms, you can see in real time what’s going on. What do they want and what are they not want? The flipside to that is your post-event or your post livestream analytics. You can watch that and see where you have those drop-offs of audience. You know, somebody who was with us and then they left at about the part, point we put that guy on, right?

And okay, lesson learnt for next one. So, you’ve got real time feedback and you’ve got post-event feedback that you want to be using to do it. Now, I was part of a discussion a few days ago that was… There’s some research that’s just come out of the States that has literally said the most conversion strong piece of content you used to be able to do was an e-book, right?

If you put out an e-book out, you would get – if it was aimed at the right people and it had the right information, lots of people will download it. And that’s a conversion, right? Livestreaming has just surpassed the e-book as the most conversion positive type of content you can put out on the market. And I think it’s because we’re human. We’re real time and we’re human, and that trust is built solidly. So, have that interaction in there, man.

Simon Dell: And in terms of something you said earlier on about building the audience, and this is kind of a two-part question, if someone’s sitting watching this or listening to this and is thinking, “Hey, I want to get into this.” Do you just recommend, “You know what? Just do it.”

And you know, I mean, yes, there’s an element of planning, but is it just do it and make some mistakes and just get better and better and better? Because to me, I often would say to clients, you know, you can over… You can over engineer this, you can overthink this, just do something.

Even if the first one looks ridiculous, at least you’ve learned, and you can grow and you can get better and better and better. And the second part of that question is then, how do you grow the audience? Is it just about delivering consistency, just same time every week, same sort of format, that kind of thing?

Jonathan Poynter: Look, okay. I’ll answer the first part. Plan a bit, right? Don’t go overboard with the planning, but plan a bit because you want to make sure that what you’re doing is not something that could be just video content that we’ve just decided to make live. You want it to have a point for people. So, plan that carefully.

A lot of people in the early days did that whole, “I’ll hold my iPhone up… I’ll hold my iPhone up and I’ll talk to the camera while I’m walking as a livestream because my audience likes that.” Well, it turns out they don’t. It’s a bit of a wank.

So, have a plan for what is really going to be useful for your audience, and then just do it, and then take the feedback and plan to do it again. Now, as for audience reach, that cadence that doing it regularly at the same time, combined with having the right content topics will get you a good audience, right?

But here’s the thing. Bring on some guests. You’ll build an audience faster that way, bringing an influencer on or bringing somebody else on. Nobody wants to hear you talk all the time. They actually want to hear industry experts or influencers, or the people that got it wrong.

You know, the great thing about livestreaming is you can do content that is… We’re doing a behind the scenes conversation now, because we attempted this thing in our engine. It was a complete failure, but we thought we’d get our engineer in here to have a chat to us about what went wrong.

Now the, engineer’s got an audience. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you bring in an influencer at the same time. So, if you want to build your audience quickly, have guests, and have guests are really relevant to your target market because they’ll share it. They’ll promote it, they’ll share it. And once somebody’s seen one of your streams, they’ll come back and watch another one.

Simon Dell: Mate, that’s been extremely helpful. I think the whole live streaming thing is it’s something we want to do, and it’s something we know we can do.

Jonathan Poynter: Give us a call, Simon.

Simon Dell: Yeah. Well, it’s fine. We even have the capacity in-house. We actually have our own in-house videographer. You know, we have a whole team that can put these things together. But it’s been… We’re kind of looking at it from a distance, do you know what I mean? We’re like, eyeing it suspiciously over there.

Jonathan Poynter: Jump in, man. Jump in. It’s lots of fun.

Simon Dell: I think the other thing is, is that I think about it, if you’re going to do it, you want to do it properly and you want to make a real kind of go at it. So, you know, there’s a wariness of not half-assing something because it’s very easy to half-ass things, you know? So, yeah, it’s certainly something that we need to look at in the next couple of months. And you know, hopefully, this conversation has given us the impetus to do it. Who do you watch on a regular basis? Who do you think is doing it well?

Jonathan Poynter: You know, we have a few competitors, but you know, I have to be honest. We’ve got a client, Adobe, and we do their APAC stuff. We sort of started their APAC live monthlies for three or four years ago now. They do that themselves now. They got good enough to be able to take it over and go, “Yep, we’ve got this.” But now, we create a podcast for a different part of Adobe.

And they’re pushing the envelope quite a bit, not just with us, but the stuff they’re doing overseas. The stuff that’s coming out of the United States is really intriguing and really interesting. There’s a platform here in Australia that’s quite big called ON24.

Now, ON24 is a streaming platform service provider. So, if you’ve got a conference and you want one place where you can have all the bells and whistles and you don’t want to build your own website or your own customer experience, they have a platform you can use. And it’s already got a lot of the functions and features built into it.

One of the things I like about ON24 is they’re totally dedicated to the engagement part of live streaming. So, their content, I love watching. You know, there’s a degree of professional jealousy, but you know what? They’re clever people, and I just love the stuff that they’re doing.

Simon Dell: It’s interesting. I was on one of these new streaming news shows the other week. And I’m fairly sure nobody, you know, doesn’t get a lot of viewers and things like that. But they seem to be popping up quite a lot now, is that people that are sort of going, “Hey, we can create a news-” it was a 24-hour news thing.

Jonathan Poynter: Is this Ticker?

Simon Dell: Maybe it was. Mate, I can’t actually remember the name of it. But there are a few of them up there now, and they’re sort of trying to find their space in the marketplace. Maybe it was Ticker News. Let me have a look.

Jonathan Poynter: Yeah, they’re giving it a real good go.

Simon Dell: Yeah, they are. You know, I have seen Ticker News, it wasn’t them, but it was something similar to them. And I guess that’s where it could go. And you know, if you could sit there and say there’s no reason that you couldn’t create something like Ticker News for your industry like, you know, specific stuff. I mean, there’s a lot of work there.

Jonathan Poynter: That’s right. Look, I mean it’s… You can cut this if you like, but I’m a mad football fan. You know, English Premier League, Serie A. You know, you name it, I’m into football. And I’m a coach. I actually bumped into a mate of mine who was the CEO of an accounting company a couple of years ago. Every time we see each other, the football banter comes up. You know, poor bastard’s an Arsenal fan.

I went to him just before the 2018 World Cup and I said to him, “You know, look, crazy idea, but you know, life’s too short. What do you think about you and I, we turn my boardroom into a studio. A bit makeshift, but we’ll do it. We’ll put one camera up. And every day for the whole 30 days of the World Cup, you and I do a video show about what happened, you know, in the last 24 hours. And it’s just, you know, you’re a referee. I’m a coach. We’re two middle aged men from Newcastle. You know, it’s got all the sort of makings of a complete flop.” But we had a lot of fun with it. We really put some- we put daily gags and things in it.

We started that for us rather than anybody else. But by the time we finished, we had a few thousand followers and some sponsors.

Simon Dell: Wow.

Jonathan Poynter: And it was, you know, just two blokes sitting there doing, you know, boofie stuff about footy during a World Cup. The thing was called “Putin Football First,” and we’ve actually had people pushing us to make it a podcast. We’re getting ready for Qatar next year.

So, we had a lot of fun, but it gained a following. It was the authenticity of it. So, it’s very easy if you kind of just concentrate for a little bit and set things up. We had $250 worth of lights in the boardroom. We had one Canon camera. It wasn’t that big a deal, but we would get together every morning.

By the end of it, we were sick as dogs. We were exhausted, but we got some great guests as well. We had some really good guests come on. So, we did that more for fun, but it really showed how easily and simply a special interest livestream or content can take off because of that authentic nature.

Simon Dell: All right. Well, if anyone wants to reach out to you, Jonathan, what’s the best way of getting hold of you?

Jonathan Poynter: Hey, www.streaminghouse.com.au is our website. You can find me on LinkedIn, Jonathan Poynter. And look, we’re talking to companies and businesses all the time. Not everyone goes ahead, but we’re more than happy to chat to them and give them advice as well.

Simon Dell: Cool. Awesome. Mate, thank you very much for your time. Hopefully that’s given us the kick up the arse that we need to get started.

Jonathan Poynter: I’ll call you in a week. Make sure you’re doing it.

Simon Dell: And I guess my final question is, who do you support in the Premiership?

Jonathan Poynter: Oh, look. I am actually a long-standing Ipswich Town fan, so I’m nowhere near the Premier League at the moment.

Simon Dell: And you probably won’t be for a while, yes.

Jonathan Poynter: In League One. That said, I do follow coaches. Being a coach myself, I’m fascinated by football coaching. So, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp really fascinate me.

Simon Dell: Well, I’m a Spurs fan. So, thank God you didn’t tell me you were an Arsenal fan. Yeah. Well, I’m a Spurs fan and an England fan. I’m used – I’ve suffered, you know, I’ve suffered from 40 years now, and I’m just used to it.

Jonathan Poynter: Oh, look. I feel for you, man. I am a fan of the English team, and unfortunately, I’m married to an Italian.

Simon Dell: Oh.

Jonathan Poynter: Yeah, yeah. So, we’re still getting over that small event about a month ago. But we’ll get there.

Simon Dell: Mate, thank you very much. It’s been lovely to talk to you, and have a good rest of your Friday and your weekend as well.

Jonathan Poynter: You too, man. Well done.

Simon Dell: That’s it for the Cemoh Marketing Podcast for this week. Thank you very much for tuning in. We look forward to joining us next week. And if you want to find out any more about Cemoh, www.cemoh.com.

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