The Best Time to Live Stream
Streaming live typically involves a lot of focus on planning the live event, crafting content, coordinating and scheduling the entire production. However, the most critical moment in this entire process is the instant that the stream goes live. Not only do you want to be ready for that moment, you also want to carefully pick a time to go live so that you have the highest possibility of getting the following from your target viewers:
Picking a time for your live stream requires a little bit of work, starting with a good understanding of who will be viewing your live stream.
Identify who the target viewers are for your live stream
It is important to consider your organisation, the content you want to live stream and who exactly are your target viewers. For example,
- Are you a course provider streaming professional development content targeted at professionals?
- Are you a brand streaming a promotional event with a celebrity to consumers?
- Are you a company live streaming internal announcements to employees?
Each of these streams will have a different time which is most appropriate for the type of content and availability of the target viewer. Ideally, you will be aligning your stream content and target viewers with your marketing personas (example shown on the right, details at the end of the post).
Determine when your target viewers are available to watch your live stream
Think of the daily routines your target viewer might have, the different locations they are in during the day and when they will have time to view your content. For the course provider example we used above, we can predict what the daily routine for typical professionals looks like:
- Work during business hours from 9 to 5pm
- Commute in the car or public transport from 8am-9am to 5pm-6pm
- Have some free time during the lunch break (~1pm) at work and after dinner (~7.30pm) at home
Decide what kind of attention you want from your live stream viewer
Think about the message you want to convey in your live stream, how you want to engage with your viewer and what action you want them to take during and after the live stream. Then decide how much attention does your content need from your viewer?
- Does your viewer have to concentrate deeply to understand your content?
- Can the viewer watch it while simultaneously doing other things?
- Will they need to follow your live session for a few minutes or over an hour?
Consider the example of a brand streaming a promotional event with a celebrity. The brand might desire a viewer to casually view a 5-minute stream in a social setting and ideally lead to a discussion with friends and/or family about the live stream.
Consider what kind of effort you want from your live stream viewer
Apart from getting a viewer’s attention, you’ll also want your viewer to take action during or after the live stream. Consider how much effort (mental, emotional, physical) you require from the viewer to take desired actions. Will your content and call to action require high effort or low effort from the viewer? When is the viewer more likely to do effortless tasks or tasks requiring greater effort?
Here are a few examples that illustrate what effort you might need from the viewer:
- Considering, thinking and reflecting on your content for an action such as registering for a course or buying a product requires greater effort
- Watching and simply performing a single click or touch action such as a “Like” requires little effort
For the case of a company live streaming announcements or weekly Town Hall style Q&A to employees might choose to live stream during after-work drinks on a Friday (5.30pm-6pm) in a country where it has the largest presence. The desired action is that colleagues will discuss the live content with each other over drinks, which is effortless in that setting. The image on the right depicts another example of a low effort task.
Other important considerations:
- Which device do you want the viewers to watch the live stream on?
- Which timezone are the majority of your viewers in?
- What platform are you streaming to (own website, third party destinations or social media sites)?
- What can you learn from statistics reported by platforms delivering scheduled content such as email campaigns and social media posts (details at the end of this post)?
Review live viewer reports and refine the time that you broadcast
While this post will help you clarify how to determine the best time to live stream, think of your first few live streams as tests. Live streaming at a few different times will give you very valuable data. Make sure you review both the real-time stats of your live stream as well as a full report on views of your live stream and use the insights gained to optimise accordingly. An example of StreamShark’s reports is in our post on StreamShark’s Real Time Viewer Stats.