Once you’ve invested time and resources in creating a product, you naturally want to know what people think of it. You’d also be smart to gather all the information you can about who’s using it and how they’re using it so you can make the product better. (Will someone please tell HubSpot that users need to be able to associate a contact with multiple companies??)
The same theory applies to live streaming.
Now that you’ve invested time and resources into producing a quality live stream, the natural progression is to begin tracking some live streaming metrics that will give you insight into your level of success. Depending on the analysis of your data, you may see opportunities you haven’t previously thought of, identify areas in need of improvement, or (fingers crossed!) get confirmation that you’re on the right track.
To that end, we’ve identified seven live streaming metrics that will give you valuable information about your audience and their viewing habits.
7 Insightful Live Streaming Metrics You Should Be Tracking
1. Device viewership.
Where are people watching? These days, desktop computers are being used less frequently for viewing live streams, while mobile and OTT devices (like ROKU and Apple TV) are becoming more prevalent. Knowing how your viewers are watching helps you know what to focus on in your broadcast.
For example, some supplemental live stream material—like a Twitter feed or a live sports data feed—doesn’t always translate well to mobile devices. So if 80% of your viewers are watching your live stream on a mobile or OTT device, they may be missing out on an important part of your broadcast. Knowing that, you can focus your resources on moving as much of that supplemental information as possible onto the actual video itself, so your mobile and OTT viewers are getting everything they need to fully enjoy the experience. Plus, more mobile viewers means you may want to consider lowering the quality of the stream you send. Users on mobile connections have less bandwidth to work with and have a greater likelihood of experiencing buffering issues. Beyond those practical applications, examining this live streaming metric is simply good practice so you know where your viewers are.
2. Live viewership vs. on-demand viewership.
To better understand the needs of your viewers, it’s important to know how many people are watching your content live and how many are watching it later, on-demand. If your primary audience is watching live, do you even need to offer it on-demand? On the other hand, you may discover that most viewers are watching your content after the fact. If that’s the case, you might consider producing more of what’s working—non-live, on-demand content. Doing so might help draw people to your site more frequently. Looking at the numbers collectively can open your eyes to new business possibilities.
3. Repeat traffic.
Are people returning to your live stream to watch multiple events, or do you see mostly once-and-done traffic? This live streaming metric will tell you if you’re producing compelling content that makes people want to come back. (It’s easier to track if your live stream is on a pay-per-view or registration-based platform.)
If you’re a sports team, for example, and notice that you don’t have many repeat viewers, it’s likely that many of your viewers are fans of the opposing teams; repeat traffic, on the other hand, shows team loyalty. So if traffic is low your broadcast may need work, or you may need to spend some additional time/money on marketing.
Use your data to do more with your live stream! Check out this free guide on how to monetize your content.
4. Duration of views.
How long are people watching your live stream? Is the average churn for, say, a 2-hour event three minutes, 20 minutes, or more than 60 minutes? Low streaming duration could indicate that the quality of your content needs work, or that you’re not reaching the right viewing audience (which could speak to your marketing efforts).
This live streaming metric is also particularly useful for monetization purposes, especially in advertising. Advertisers will be more interested in placing ads if a good number of people are watching for a good amount of time because their advertising is likely sprinkled in from beginning to end.
5. Unique visitors to your site.
Unique visitors, or views, are different than total views. If the same person visits your site 10 times in one day, all 10 visits would come from the same IP address, assuming that person is using the same computer/network each time. Those are not unique views (which come from different IP addresses).
If you’re doing PPV live streaming, compare the number of unique views to the total number of passes sold (e.g. total views) in order to get insight into your conversion rate. In other words, how many sales opportunities are actually converting to paid customers? It’s a somewhat imperfect measure (for example, IP addresses can be skewed for viewers using virtual private networks or public wi-fi) but the majority of your viewers are likely to be watching from their home or office computers.
6. Geographical breakdown of your viewership.
Where are people watching your live stream from? This live streaming metric is useful in several ways. First, it can help you refine your monetization strategies, including fine-tuning your price point. If the majority of your viewers are local, you may want to raise the price to encourage people to attend the event in person rather than watch online. Second, it can also help with advertising. Businesses located in the same geographical area as your viewers will be more inclined to advertise on your live stream.
7. Viewer engagement.
If your audience interacts with your content, that says a lot about the quality of your live stream! It also means viewers are more likely to come back for more. So if you’re running a social feed with Twitter or Facebook alongside your broadcast, monitor how often people comment, chat, or tweet a link to the content to their friends—“Hey, I’m watching this game; you can tune in here!”
This article has some good tips on how to improve viewer engagement for your live stream. While some of the article’s suggestions may not apply to you directly, a simple practice that most streamers can incorporate is to have your broadcast talent interact with the audience. Ask questions that viewers can respond to using a specific Twitter hashtag, for example. You can respond to user questions on air or directly on Twitter. Whatever approach you choose, the key is to make the audience feel connected to or part of the broadcast. The bottom line is it’s in your best interest to cultivate viewers who not only watch, but also interact with your content.
To get started tracking, check out Google Analytics, a useful data-gathering tool used by many of our clients. And if you have ideas about other metrics fellow live streamers should track, let us know!
Improve Your Live Stream By Improving Your Platform
If the data gathered from your live streaming metrics prompts you to improve your live stream, switching up your live streaming platform can help.
With Stretch, you’ll get a custom-designed viewing portal, advanced live stream viewing features (like monetization options, instant highlights, and live data feeds), and best-in-class technical and viewer support. On top of all that, you’ll get expert advice on how you can improve your live stream to reach your organization’s goals. Interested in learning more? Chat with us!