Social Media App Competitive Landscape

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01
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Part
01

Creators and Instagram Live

Instagram Live lets creators engage with their followers in real-time and it is a cost-effective way of creating content. 12% of its users are from the United States. These and other details are presented below and in column C of the attached spreadsheet.

Instagram Live

  • Instagram Live is a supplementary feature of Instagram Stories that lets creators engage with their followers in real-time.
  • There is no required minimum number of followers before one can use Instagram Live and it is free to use. Broadcast length can run from a few seconds to as much as 60 minutes.
  • When live videos are being streamed by creators, their profile picture is highlighted in Instagram Stories with a "live" icon so that followers will be alerted that a live video can be viewed.

Features

  • A replay video can be saved to Instagram Stories for the next 24 hours.
  • A creator can invite someone to co-host while doing Instagram Live.
  • Instagram Stories filters can be applied to the broadcast screen while streaming.
  • Previously, Instagram Live can only be broadcast on mobile devices. Recently, viewing options have been expanded as it can now be used on desktop PCs with a less intrusive format and a live URL for a live broadcast.
  • On May 27, Instagram announced its new Instagram Live feature, the badges. These can be purchased by viewers during a live video which can help creators generate income from their content. Badges will be tested with a small group of businesses and creators next month.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Instagram Live increases conversion rate since users are easier to be convinced through live videos rather than in written messages.
Cons
  • Instagram Live videos have a short life. Even if they were saved or posted to Instagram Stories after live streaming, they can only be available for the next 24 hours.

Content

  • Creators use Instagram Live in product marketing through demos, product launch announcements, or tutorials. Most of them use it for promotions and brand name popularization.
  • In April 2020, a rapper named Daniel Hernandez (or Tekashi 6ix9ine) broke an all-time record for the most number of viewers in an Instagram Live. He garnered 2 million viewers breaking the 300,000 live viewers record held by Drake (a rapper), and Torey Lanez (a singer).

Creators

  • Instagram Live users are widely spread in different countries. 12% of them are from the United States, the country with the highest percentage of users among other countries.
  • Just recently, Instagram acknowledged that creators globally have embraced Instagram Live in different ways as live streaming activities on Instagram increased by 70% from February to March 2020.
  • Content creators are mostly celebrities connecting with fans or musicians doing live parties for entertainment purposes or to raise money.
  • Instagram Live also appeals to creators involved in fashion and beauty and designers use it to broadcast footages from their fashion shows.

Preferences

  • Compared to other live streaming platforms, Instagram Live videos are given priority in the app's Stories section. It gives the creators the opportunity to reach even new users that are actually not their followers.
  • By utilizing its feature where the host can pin a comment to appear on top of others, it can help create more engagement while doing the live stream.
Part
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Part
02

Creators and Facebook Live

Facebook Live launched in 2016 and allows any user to live stream content to their timeline or to a specific group or page. The requested details for Facebook Live can be found in the attached spreadsheet, and a brief overview of the findings can be found below.

Facebook Live

  • Facebook Live videos are restricted to four hours per video for mobile devices and eight hours for content created on a computer.
  • Facebook Live is completely free for anyone to use and there is no follower requirement to stream videos.
  • The platform has many popular categories of video content. Some top categories include tutorials, product reviews, and vlogs.
  • The biggest con of using Facebook Live is the fact that its live videos are not able to be recognized by other search engines, like Google, so it renders SEO optimization useless.

Research Strategy

We found most of the requested information for Facebook Live content creators. We were unable to find much information for demographics or other user information specifically for content creators on Facebook Live. An initial search only found viewer statistics for Facebook Live and nothing related to demographics at all. We switched gears and searched for demographics of content creators in general on Facebook. Our thought was that these are the people who are mostly using Facebook Live, so they would be the best general group to look at to get an idea of the Facebook Live creator demographics. Unfortunately, we did not find any demographics or other helpful information regarding creators in specific. Our searches only found statistics regarding Facebook users in general.
Part
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Part
03

Creators and Twitch

Twitch is the largest dedicated live-streaming platform in the US. Its features, pain points, and reasons that creators use it can be found in the attached spreadsheet. An overview of the findings can be found below.

Twitch

  • 72% of live-streaming hours are viewed on Twitch.
  • 65% of Twitch users, both viewers and creators, are male and 35% are female.
  • Twitch's primary content type is live streams of video and computer games, seconded by live music and singing performances.
  • Some streaming features that Twitch offers include the ability to stream together with other creators, channel-specific chat rooms, the ability to promote products on Amazon and get commissions when people buy them, and using Snapchat filters during a live stream.
Part
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Part
04

Creators and YouTube Live

For the live streaming platform listed in column F of the attached project spreadsheet, all the requested information including, an overview, list of features, pros & cons, and preferences has been provided.

YouTube Live

  • YouTube Live is designed to help creators provide more interactive experiences and engagement with their viewers and subscribers.
  • Creators who wish to use the platform must ensure that their channel is verified, do not have a community strike, are not blocked globally, and do not have a copyright take down.
  • Those who wish to live stream on the platform using a mobile device must ensure that they have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers, while those with a lower number of subscribers can stream via desktops or webcams.
  • Some key features of this platform are live stream metrics, multi-camera events, highlight clips, unlimited event duration, and 360-degree live stream.
  • Easy monetization is one of the major advantages offered in this platform. Creators can achieve this via several methods such as the super chat feature, mid-roll ads, pre-roll ads, and display/overlay ads.
Research Strategy
We were able to answer the majority of the questions asked in this project using credible resources from the company themselves, and other notable sources including, business news and analysis websites such as Forbes. During this research, we made use of information found on a company blog which is mostly not recommended by Wonder. We decided to make use of this source because it is from a recognized social media-focused company called Hootsuite, and it contained valuable information required to answer some research questions. All requested information has been provided in the spreadsheet.
Part
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Part
05

Live Streaming Industry: Overview

Livestreaming videos have been popular for years, and with pandemic-based social distancing rules in place all over the world, this popularity has skyrocketed. Everyone from grandmothers to rock stars post live videos, as most users have used the feature at least once, and many use it frequently. Popular content has changed during the pandemic; whereas live-event streaming and product reviews were once more popular, now many people watch influencers, regular folks, and musicians perform live from their comfort of their living rooms.

MOST POPULAR PLATFORMS FOR UGC-LIVESTREAMS

Overview

  • Livestreaming programs/apps make it easy for users (and brands) to share their favorite content themselves, events, activities, and everything in-between with their fan base and then, as most of the platforms save the video content with viewers who missed the livestream. They are easy to use, most of them are free (or very low cost), and they are a popular way to reach viewers (and attract new ones).
  • Filmora lists the following as the “10 best live streaming platforms” to use for generating personal content (note: these do not appear to be listed in a particular order): Twitch, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Periscope, Younow, IRIS (Bambuser), USTREAM, Dacast, Livestream, and Brightcove.
  • InPlayer lists the following as some of thetop used” apps for user-generated livestreaming of content, though these are listed in no particular ranking/order: Periscope, Livestream, StreamNow, Facebook Live, Instagram Live Stories, Broadcast Me, Alively, Hang W/, Twitch TV, and Streamago.
  • Brief profiles of three of the major (and most popular) platforms for user-generated livestreaming content follows; it includes information on how easy each is to use, why users would want to use those platforms, and the typical users of the feature.

Instagram Stories

  • Highly-popular social media platform Instagram launched its live feature at the end of 2016, though it only rolled out globally in 2019/2020. The Live Stories feature is built directly into the Instagram app, and to broadcast, it’s as easy as swiping right and tapping “Live.”
  • Each video can be up to an hour long (which is a great length for longer streams like events), and watchers can comment during (and after) livestreams. The app will send a notification of a livestream event to followers (not all), while others can see the “Live” tag and click to watch. Videos are available for viewing as soon as the stream ends, making it easy to keep them to show others who missed the live showing.
  • Many users (and video streamers) were pleased with the upgrades to Stories, since the previous version offered only 15-second chunks and the videos disappeared from the platform after 24 hours. Notably, most statistics related to the platform do not specifically profile Stories users; rather they focus on total active users to the entire platform (not just the Stories feature).
  • Instagram boasts over 1 B monthly active users (500+ M of which are active daily), and 500+ M of whom use the Stories feature. The US has the highest number of IG users, with 37% of American adults using the platform. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of teens use the platform; 30% of the global audience is between the ages of 18 and 24, with 35% of users being ages 25 to 34.

Facebook Live

  • The already-popular Facebook added the Live feature, starting by making it “available only to popular actors and performers;” when they released it and made it publicly available, it quickly rose in popularity. The site offers the options to post to specific groups or people, or to show the livestream to the public; the streams can be watched via FB Live on the web or via the app.
  • FB Live offers easy-to-add filters and text during the live broadcast, and content-streamers can change the color of the feed, as well. In addition, users can switch the way the camera faces (front/back), add a donation button, and switch to “microphone-mode only,” if they’d like. Livestreamers enjoy the ease of the program, as well as its quick ability to integrate directly with all FB features. Streamers enjoy the real-time interaction with their broadcast audience, so they can immediately improve if the video stream isn’t optimal.
  • Facebook Live stats prove that those videos get “10 times more comments than regular videos,” with those videos seeing a popularity increase of 330% in one year’s time. FB Live videos also get three times the viewing length (meaning viewers watch three times longer) than regular videos. Between 2016 and 2018, FB Live videos had seen over 2 billion viewers, with experts believing that number to have grown significantly in the last year (and especially the last few months).
  • At this time, about one in five videos on Facebook is a livestream.
  • In addition to so-called regular/general Facebook users who use the Live feature, the feature is also used by 91% of businesses, a third of video marketers, and 76% of broadcasters for marketing; notably, only about a quarter (24%) have found live video streaming to be “very effective” for marketing. Additionally, 95% of those using mobile Facebook apps post livestreams.
  • Notably, most statistics only include general Facebook users, rather than specific users for the particular Live feature. For Facebook proper, the site has over 2.5 B monthly active users, 2.26 B of which access the platform via their mobile apps. A full 69% of US adults use the platform, with a demographic that leans slightly more toward female (54%) than male (46%).

TikTok

  • Prior to the pandemic, TikTok was rising in popularity, though still fared behind other livestreaming platforms. In March 2020, the site added over 12 million more users from the US alone, and “its US unique visitor count rose 48.3%.” Among its desktop version, mobile website, and app, the app has grown most quickly in popularity, especially since the start of the world health crisis.
  • Users enjoy TikTok because it allows them to create a “strong identity” online and share it with a highly-engaged community. It also allows users to create “compelling content,” not just 15-second videos, but video reactions and other “refreshingly creative” content. During the current pandemic, the site has allowed many more people to virtually connect while safely social distancing.
  • Additionally, TikTok has a range of safety and family/parental controls, including a tighter set recently installed with the rise in popularity of the app, which put restrictions on direct messaging to minors, as well as employing stronger content filters.
  • Prior to the pandemic, TikTok users mostly came from Generation Z (18 – 24 year olds), though the site reports that, during the pandemic, “now we’re seeing Millennials, Gen X and even Baby Boomer generations engaging on the platform to keep in touch with loved ones.”

Popular UG-Livestream Content

  • According to experts, livestreaming via a social media platform is the way more than half (52%) of global livestreamers share their content. This is an important change in content consumption over the last decade in that a full “80% of consumers would rather watch a live stream than read a blog.”
  • Notably, pre-pandemic content is different from what’s been most popular during the pandemic, so content has changed, and there may be additional changes in the future depending on the length and severity of the shutdowns and continued safe social distancing. During the pandemic, social media use has spiked significantly across all platforms, and the use of live videostreaming has increased.
  • The types of content that becomes popular (or goes viral) depends on the platform. For example, Twitch has been typically used by gamers, though their non-gaming content has grown in popularity over the last year.
  • Notably, the following content types have been most popular overall: vlogs, behind-the-scenes views, interviews or Q&As, webinars, livestreamed events, presentations or tutorials, product reviews, testimonials, and music. During the pandemic, many of those producing live videos, like influencers, have had to switch to different content types to keep audiences engaged and to do so safely from their own homes.
  • Additionally, many musicians have turned to livestreams to support themselves while they cannot perform for live audiences. Many musicians, like this one for example, provide their Paypal or Venmo donations links to help fill their virtual tip jars.
  • As one example of popular content, on Facebook Live, the most watched livestreamed video (so far) was a 2016 purchase of a Chewbacca mask by “The Chewbacca Mom.” The video has more than 50K views within an hour, and “within three days, that figure rose to 78 million views;” today, it has over 175 M views, and is considered to be the “most-watched video” on the platform.
Part
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Part
06

Live Streaming Industry: Creators

Generation Y are the main creators on most live streaming platforms. Statistics also show that most of the platforms are male-dominated. A comprehensive profile overview of people who use live streaming platforms is presented below.
  • The use of live streaming platforms in the U.S. is on the increase. According to a recent report by Nielsen U.S., between 2017 and 2018, the proportion of people who had live-streamed content online rose from 25% to 42%.

Age

  • Majority of the creators using live streaming platforms are younger people in the Generation Y and Generation Z. Millennials (Generation Y) are the main creators on most of these platforms including, Twitch.
  • For example, 16 to 21 years old account for 60% of the monthly active users of TikTok while 78% of users of Snapchat are 18-24 years old.

Gender

  • Statistics posted by the various live streaming platforms show that most users are male. For instance, 62% of YouTube creators and viewers are male. Similarly, research shows that Twitch is a male-dominated platform with an overwhelming 81.5% male user base.
  • Moreover, females tend to shy off from using some platforms such as Twitch for live streaming because of fear of sexual harassment that often comes their way.

Race

  • The racial characteristics of creators using live streaming platforms in the US are determined by the type of platform. For instance, 71.5% of creators and users of live stream on Twitch are whites. 10.2% are Hispanic while 3.9% are African Americans.

Uses

  • Live streaming platforms provide different opportunities for creators. Thus, creators use these platforms for different reasons and intentions.
  • Some creators use live streaming platforms for fun and entertainment. Creating funny videos or clips on these platforms is fun as they can make their viewers or audience happy.
  • A study on motivations for creating content on Twitch and YouTube found that most creators were motivated by intrinsic factors such as enjoyment and socialization.
  • Some creators use live streaming platforms for business. They use the platforms to market themselves or their brands directly to their target audiences.
  • For instance, most video gamers use live streaming platforms to market their games, or market for the game creators by playing the games live while interacting with their viewers. The viewers get a unique audiovisual experience of the advertised games and can even interact directly via chat with the gamer.
  • Studies on motivations for using live streaming platforms have also shown that some creators are motivated by business reasons such as generating income.
  • Some creators are also using live streaming platforms for both fun and business reasons. They want to have fun while making money or building their brands at the same time.
  • Creators with a significant number of subscribers have been approached by major brands to help them market and build their brands while making live stream videos for fun.
Part
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Part
07

Live Streaming Industry: Trends

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the growth of new social media trends, especially through livestreaming platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which have been promoted by social distance initiatives. These trends include; increased usage of virtual platforms to avoid loneliness and create a sense of community, as well as to fundraise for various nonprofit causes.

Increased Usage to Avoid Loneliness or Create A Sense of Community

  • An article published by the New York Times argues that since the coronavirus pandemic broke and the social distance measures were imposed, Americans have turned to online platforms to seek entertainment and connect with loved ones. As the virus continued to spread, devices are not only being used for work, but also play, and virtual socializing through apps such as Facebook.
  • Mobile apps such as TikTok have continued to entertain Americans with short clips of pranks, challenge trends, and lip-syncing. Even though the app had started to gain popularity before the coronavirus outbreak, it has grown popular and steady ever since the novel virus broke out.
  • Increased usage of social media platforms has helped to curb loneliness and create a sense of community as social distancing does not apply to social media platforms. As such, online social engagement has continued to spike amid the global pandemic. A recent survey indicates that between February and March, there was a 22% increase in Instagram usage and a 27% spike in TikTok engagement.
  • Americans have continued to connect through social media, as well as share the pandemic stories. Social media engagement has continued to increase, and it is expected that the colossal usage of virtual platforms will remain steadfast.
  • A survey carried out by Nielsen shows that, on average, Black adults spend 4 hours and 46 minutes on their smartphones per day, which is 21% more than the average adult. Black adults in America are streaming content featuring black superstars such as Jada Pinkett’s Red Table Talk on Facebook. The connected devices are responsible for the shift from traditional medial to new age media such as streaming, which has become the new normal.
  • Various apps have different audiences. Apps such as Instagram and Facebook, for instance, were popular with both older adults and younger adults. The latter demographic, however, seems to be crossing over to TikTok. On TikTok, younger adults can make and share content such as music videos.
  • Every UI feature on this platform is built for an independent purpose, making it user-friendly for subscribers. The coronavirus outbreak has promoted TikTok’s success, and it has fostered a sense of community through compelling content and promoted social distancing as people continue to stay physically disconnected.

Using Social Media to Fundraise for Causes

  • While the coronavirus pandemic has put on hold fundraising projects, charities have continued to fundraise for various causes through social media platforms, without compromising social distancing rules. Americans have continued to fundraise to support causes such as A Million Masks, a cause started by New York residents to raise money to fund Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical staff in New York.
  • Towards the end of April, Instagram launched a fundraising platform for nonprofits, amid coronavirus. Even though Instagram had already offered Instagram Donation Stickers, Instagram Live Donations can be held while live streaming, alone, or as a group. The day before Instagram Live was launched, TikTok had also launched a donation feature, to cater for both video posts and live streams.
  • The difference between the two platforms is that Instagram’s Live Donations feature open for over a million fundraisers, while TikTok is only limited for a few nonprofit causes. Instagram announced that 100% of the donations raised would go directly to the causes, as Instagram does not take its share as is the norm with other fundraising platforms.
  • Facebook Fundraisers has raised over $2 billion, which proves that donors and fundraisers embrace the idea and convenience of virtual fundraisers. Twitch creators on the other and have raised more than $115 million for various nonprofits.
  • Social fundraisers are using live stream opportunities to create opportunities to engage millions of people stuck at home, looking for ways to help and participate.
  • Charities have entrusted supporters on social media to use their creativity and forms of entertainment, such as music, art, fashion, and games to attract an audience to raise for nonprofit causes. Livestream fundraisers are also quick and direct compared to traditional fundraisers that take months. Livestreaming can raise charity funds in hours by engaging with the audience and raising equally large sums.
  • An article published by Forbes opines that virtual concerts by American artists who are unable to perform live shows due to the social distancing rules have provided entertainment for free. These Livestream performances have also used the opportunity to fundraise for nonprofits and build up goodwill and spike online purchases of albums and merchandise.
Sources
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