2020 was the year for cancelled plans. The Summer Olympics was cancelled for the first time since World War II, Glastonbury 20/21 was cancelled, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, The Rolling Stones and The Weeknd were all forced to reschedule their highly anticipated tours and ITV’s Love Island was unable to take place. The list goes on.
With the word of the year being “unprecedented”, the only thing we could be 100% sure of was that the events industry needed to adapt to accommodate for restrictions.
While some brands have refunded and rescheduled events, some have made the virtual transition to livestream. In fact, the occurrence of virtual events went up 1000% since the start of COVID-19 with 52,000 on just one platform, 6Connex.
Online livestream venue StageIt has been helping to connect fans with lesser known artists for years. Here, acts stream live from the comfort of their homes via laptop cameras. Through an interactive chat room feature, fans can communicate with artists by asking questions and requesting songs. With venues closed, StageIt enables fans to financially support artists through a monetized system and acts can show their appreciation for viewers via a virtual tip jar. Through interactive video streams, fans can win prizes such as band merch or one-on-one Zoom sessions.
Bigger artists such as The Weeknd have held live, interactive virtual concerts. In August 2020 he took to TikTok drawing over 2 million total viewers and raising over $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative. Adam Lambert will host a series of live streams this February 2021 discussing Stonewall day and up and coming LGBTQ artists. Eddie Vedder, Phoebe Bridgers and more are set to perform virtually for the 34th annual Tibet House US Benefit concert with tickets starting at $25.
Harnessing the magic of the internet, Dior streamed their Autumn 2021 Men's show live online as a part of Paris Men’s Fashion Week on 22 January 2021. The innovative, vibrant collection inspired by surrealism and science fiction reflected the limitless possibilities of combining technology with fashion. Featuring art from Kenny Scharf the show was streamed live using Amazon owned platform Twitch. The technology has also been used by Burberry in their Spring/Summer 2021 show. By contrast to Snapchat, Facebook Live, or Instagram, Twitch’s streaming service is more public, bringing the front row seat at fashion week to your device screen. The interactive video experience gave viewers the opportunity to connect with each other in live chat rooms. As a result, live streaming could bring the fashion community together during a socially distanced period.
With store doors closed, interactive video is opening up new opportunities for ecommerce. Department store Brown Thomas partnered with Smartzer to create interactive and shoppable video events featuring brands like Laura Mercier and Bare Minerals. Customers could book onto breakthrough beauty masterclasses and tutorials to learn about makeup products and application techniques. They could shop the content shown in the stream via a product carousel and add items to their basket without leaving the stream. Through these exclusive events, customers were provided with a bespoke, live shopping experience that generated a community feel for like minded makeup enthusiasts.
By using Smartzer’s player that was fully integrated into the Demandware API, up-to-date product information could be instantly pulled into the Smartzer editor and player to be showcased to viewers. The private videos are now available on Brown Thomas’s ecommerce site for anyone to view. By using these videos for video content marketing, brands can engage and inform standard web visitors and turn general traffic into qualified traffic. Tests have revealed that a consumer who watched a video demonstrating a product was 144% more likely to add that product to their shopping cart. Through interactive, demonstrative video content brands can increase online engagement and build trust with their audiences to increase conversion rates.