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Livestreaming finds a home among influencers

Livestreaming has gained newfound relevance amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Viewership has grown across several platforms and new features are being introduced, expanding opportunities for marketers and creators within this space. Though it’s still an exploratory format for US marketers, influencer marketing is a central component, as creators and celebrities are partnering with brands for virtual events, gaming, and live shopping.

Much like Stories, livestreaming is a way for creators and other influential figures on social media to present content that is often less polished than photos or recorded videos are. Livestreams also give influencers a way to interact with their audience in real time through live chat.

According to a May 2020 survey from GlobalWebIndex and marketing firm Influencer, 37% of UK and US social media users who followed influencers actively watched their live videos. Watching influencer livestreams ranked higher than other popular forms of engagement such as actively watching influencers’ Stories (34%) and watching their long-form videos (26%).

Influencer livestreams have seen sustained interest throughout the pandemic. GlobalWebIndex again tracked the prevalence of livestreaming influencer content in September 2020 and found that interest had not tapered off. Among internet users in the US, UK, Germany, and France surveyed, 14% said they frequently watched livestreams of influencers on social media, while 23% reported watching them occasionally. That’s a total of 37% who said they tuned in to influencer livestreams.

Research has also shown that some consumers are interested in using influencer livestreams for shopping discovery. A survey of internet users worldwide (not including China) conducted by GfK for Facebook IQ during July and August 2020 found that slightly less than one-quarter (24%) of respondents wanted to discover brands or products in the future by watching livestreams with influencers using the product.

However, livestreaming with both influencers and brand representatives still lagged behind other forms of discovery, including browsing products categorized by current trends (38%), browsing products categorized by lifestyle (37%), and surveys that customize products based on the consumer’s responses (36%).