Today, internet users have an almost endless supply of video content they can choose to consume. To provide an example, according to Wyzowl, there are 3.7 million new YouTube videos uploaded every single day. With so much video content available to users, many video creators have turned to livestreaming to stand out and grow their audiences.
Audience engagement, and why it matters for live streamers
Livestreaming, the growing format of streaming video content to your audience in real time, is being prioritized as a feature by every major social media platform. The reason for that is simple: livestreaming gives users a different and more exciting way to consume content from their favorite creators that pre-recorded video simply cannot. And for you as a creator, especially if you are starting livestreaming in 2023, your number one priority during your stream should be engaging with your audience. This lets you foster deeper relationships with your viewers and even reach new ones when rewarded by social media algorithms - all of which help your audience grow.
In this article, we've listed the Top 10 ways that you can boost audience engagement for your livestream.
The top 10 ways to boost audience engagement in your livestream
1. Engage with chat
The simplest way to engage with your audience is to respond to the chat. Reading what people are saying in the chat and responding to them promptly instantly builds this real-time connection, which makes your followers feel connected to you on a personal level. Here are our two tips to follow when you engage with chat:
- Pay attention to the questions in chat. Compared to pre-recorded video content, where you are stuck asking your viewers to leave questions in the comment section and responding to them later, a livestream session enables you to answer those questions on the spot. It's almost like you are right there with them and communicating with them in person. When users feel valued, they have a greater sense of participation and will likely interact more. Unfortunately, if you are planning on simulcasting (multistreaming) to multiple platforms, aggregating your audience’s comments can be a pain. For this reason, we recommend trying a tool like Opus that provides chat management features.
- Bring engaging comments on screen. People love to see their pictures and comments onscreen. It makes them feel special and encourages them to participate more in your livestream. And when other people see comments onscreen, they will be motivated to engage more themselves. Bringing comments on screen creates 52% more engagement during your livestream on average!
2. Invite your audience to submit video questions
If you are not satisfied with just plain text comments, experiment with newer commenting formats like Opus' Video Comment feature. With video comments, your viewers can easily record and send you a short video comment before or during your live event, which you can then bring onscreen to interact with during your stream.
Video comments allow your audience to express their feelings in ways that simple words cannot express. With the real-time transcription, you will be able to know what exactly they said in the video clips before bringing them up on the screen. This gives you full control over what your audience shows on stage, and makes your audience an important part of your show. Imagine how happy your viewers will be when they see themselves on the screen. There's no better way to show your viewers you care about audience engagement than by making them part of the show!
You can also boost engagement by bringing more guests on screen with video comments. We’ve all run into situations where the guest speaker cannot make it to the show or there just isn't enough time for everyone to talk during the show. With video comment, you can ask those guests/experts to provide nuggets of their thoughts using video comment, and you can just play the clips during your show to make it more engaging.
3. Start a poll
Polling is one activity that every single audience member can participate in, and when they see their avatars on screen, it further encourages people to comment more and stay longer. This ultimately increases your live stream's watch time, audience engagement rate, and retention. However, finding the right tool to do polling can be tricky. With most livestream tools, you will need to go to a third-party platform to create a poll, and the whole process can be extremely cumbersome.
Opus has a polling feature built directly within its interface, which allows you to easily create a poll in the studio, and your audience can participate by making a comment on the platforms you are livestreaming on, such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out how Coding Phase discussed the role of AI with his audience by using Opus' polling feature, where he asked his followers to vote on whether they think their jobs will be replaced with AI.
4. Ask questions throughout your livestream
If your audience is shy and you don't see many chats, take the initiative to ask your viewers some questions, or ask them for advice. Simple questions, like "which games do you recommend" or "what are your favorite movies" can help get the conversation going. Asking them for advice or what topics they would like to have a discussion on can also show how much you value their opinions. This is especially important if you plan on going live on TikTok or other social media platforms, where users expect to be “part of the conversation” with creators.
Instead of doing a Q&A session at the end of your livestream, you can hold shorter ones throughout your show to keep the high engagement rate. Having a small Q&A period of three minutes or so after each key point helps your audience to clear up confusion right away and also keeps them engaged.
5. Run giveaways
We all love gifts and freebies, don't we? Some occasional giveaways can stir up the community and make people more excited about your live show. To achieve the best audience engagement rate with your giveaways, here are a few tips for you
- Promote your giveaway livestream ahead of time. Giveaways are a great opportunity to give back to your community and gain new followers, so make sure to let your subscribers know when you will be doing a giveaway livestream so that they can mark their calendars
- Choose a prize that will interest your audience. You are the one who knows your audience the best, so choose something that your followers will like and will also remind them of your show, such as T-shirts and coffee mugs with your customized prints. If you are doing a sponsored show, you can also do a promotional giveaway to give out swag representing your sponsors. It's a great way to make both your subscribers and sponsors happy!
- Draw the winners at random intervals throughout your livestream. To encourage your audience to pay attention to your livestream and stay till the end, it's better to do small giveaway sessions at random intervals throughout the entire show instead of announcing the winners all at once.
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6. Host games and contests
Games and contests have always been powerful ways to promote audience engagement. Plan a game with questions that are relevant to your topic to play with your audience, and you will be surprised by how much more engagement you will get throughout the show. A fun game will bring some friendly competition and also allows your audience to showcase their knowledge of what they've learned from you. You can even spice up the game with some small prizes at the end. People who pay more attention to your live stream will get the most answers correct and win the prize. By doing this, you will not only boost engagement between you and your audience, but also build a stronger community by encouraging them to interact with each other.
Tip: To take things a step further, you can tease your livestream’s upcoming games and contests directly in your stream overlay - this can help generate excitement and suspense, and increase your stream’s average watch time.
7. Add memes to your livestream
Live streaming should be more than just about talking. One unique aspect of live streaming is that you can actually see what's happening and respond accordingly. However, many creators fail to leverage visual elements as a powerful means to deliver their information and engage with their audience.
Use visual elements such as Opus’ Magic Memes as a way to tell your story even better. This is especially helpful when you are doing a solo show. Watching you talk alone for an hour straight can be boring for your audience. Magic memes can help break the visual pattern and turn awkward moments into fun moments, bringing lots of laughter to your audience, making them more likely to stay longer and increase their watch time.
8. Embed videos into your livestream
Let's be honest, bobbling your head and talking alone can be a little awkward after a while. To make the live show more captivating and boost your audience engagement, you can change it up a bit by embedding videos into your livestream and watching it together with your audience.
A watch party is a great way to gather people with similar interests and share their passion together. Watching videos with your audience while chatting live builds a stronger connection between you and your viewers and drastically boosts the engagement rate of your show. Just find an event that interests you and your fans, and you will be surprised by how many chats and engaging conversations you will get!
This capability usually isn’t possible through the native streaming studios provided by social platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. But video embedding can be easily accomplished with tools like Opus Studio, OBS, or any of the free OBS alternatives available.
9. Emoji rain!
Besides memes, emojis are another way to bring some fun visual elements to your live show and encourage your audience to be more expressive. With Opus' Emoji Rain feature, all of the emojis your audience sends in the chat box will rain down from the top of your screen.
Emojis are super effective at establishing mood and expressing emotions. You can have a lot of fun with emoji rain, and it will encourage your audiences to send more comments.
10. Play music
Music is great at establishing mood. With the right music, you can draw your community closer and make your followers resonate with you. Find the right music and play it frequently, so that your audience will feel a sense of belonging when they hear the music. Once they feel more comfortable and at ease, they are more likely to engage in the chat with you.
While music helps to build the mood and encourages more audience engagement, make sure you check the music copyright. We can't stress enough how important it is to avoid legal issues regarding music copyright, since your channel could be harshly penalized for using songs without proper licensing.
How to measure audience engagement
Now that you know how to boost audience engagement, we listed below some key metrics you can use to measure your livestream engagement.
- Current views: To get a general sense of how engaging your show is while live, you can look at the change in the numbers of current viewers. If the number goes up, it means you are doing a good job engaging with your viewers, and are attracting more people to come!
- Peak concurrent views: After the live show, check out the peak concurrent views to find the highlighting moments and most engaging part of the livestream.
- Average viewer duration: How long are people watching your live stream on average? Low average viewer duration means your viewers lose interest quickly during the show and you need to work on improving your content to make it more engaging in the future.
- Chat activity: The chat section is a good indicator of how engaging the show is. It's always helpful to go back to the chat history after the livestream to analyze what topics your audience was most interested in, (and then do more live streams about them).
- Poll participation rate: If you did some polling or games in your livestream, the percentage of total viewers participating in it reflects how willing they are to engage with you.
- New subscriber count: The ultimate goal of your livestream is to bring your amazing content to more people. A good number of new users subscribed to your channel during the stream serves as a positive sign of high engagement.
Use a platform like Opus to easily engage with your audience
Opus is a web-based livestream tool that enables creators to make engaging live streams with features like video comments, live polling, magic memes, and more. Join our beta user program here.
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About the Author
Nuoya Li is the Product Marketing Manager at Opus. Previously she has developed go-to market strategies for early stage companies in virtual reality and Web 3, and she is now on the mission to build the most engaging livestream tool to bring live presentation to the next level. In her spare time, she loves spending time outdoors, and is always looking for new hiking trails to explore.