In the current digital age, online interactions are crucial in business decision-making. A recent study by Wbresearch found that 90% of B2B buyers believe these interactions are key in purchasing decisions.
Despite this, many brands struggle to develop a robust digital presence for facilitating these discussions. Platforms like webinars have become effective in engaging audiences and driving revenue, with communication webinars having conversion rates as high as 67.05%.
However, technical issues like re-buffering, latency, or capacity constraints often impede such efforts. These challenges indicate inadequate technological infrastructure, struggling with the swift and unpredictable changes in audience numbers. It’s essential for companies to invest in resilient technology infrastructure to provide a seamless digital experience, ultimately enhancing customer engagement and revenue growth.
Optimising digital delivery
When dealing with fluctuating audience sizes during webinars and live-streaming events, it’s crucial for enterprises to ensure a seamless digital experience. This involves implementing key technological requirements to guarantee that their infrastructure can accommodate unpredictable surges in viewership. Thus, expanding capacity has become an optimal strategy to ensure a smooth viewing experience and prevent server failures, lags, and buffering.
Delivering live streaming events to large audiences necessitates real-time control with broadcast-grade tools. These tools allow for the insertion of breaks, ad management, application of blackout rules, and DRM assurance. Enterprises should also consider flexible business models, such as subscriptions, paywalls, and syndication, to refine distribution and geo-blocking for millions of viewers.
The network for live streaming has become another critical factor: Enterprises should consider their content delivery strategy and choose distributed server networks with sufficient bandwidth that can cache and serve content from the nearest edge server to viewers. Content delivery network (CDN) architectures are designed to reduce latency and handle high traffic loads.
With live linear video streaming, broadcast workflows can extend by preserving metadata and messaging. This enables enterprises to trigger ad breaks, program breaks, and blackout markers. Organisations can maximise content ROI and user experience simultaneously, as live content is immediately available for on-demand playback with live-to-VOD technology. Efficient technologies enhance audience experience and engagement, leading to improved conversion rates as potential buyers become more immersed in the company’s products and services.
To achieve a consistent and uninterrupted content delivery workflow, a robust technology stack is required. Companies planning their own live events should choose stream management service providers offering a comprehensive suite of capabilities. These include curating and packaging content, configuring business rules, and delivering to all distribution endpoints.
A stream management service of this calibre caters to the demands of intricate workflows, whether they are executed on-premises or in cloud environments. This allows clients to save time while maintaining the highest video quality for both Live and VOD content with a single platform. For Newsy, who overcame challenges – such as how to upscale the technology in order to meet demand spikes during breaking news or how to increase partnerships with streaming platforms in order to grow audiences – an advanced cloud-based streaming platform helped support Newsy to encode, package, and deliver consistent, high-quality video streaming to audiences without any additional infrastructure to build or manage.
A stream management service capable of these functions can meet the demands of intricate workflows, whether executed on-premises or in cloud environments. It will help clients save time while maintaining high video quality for both live and VOD content with a single platform.
The solution should also be equipped with a professional toolkit that offers optimised encoding profiles or even finer control depending on their needs. Companies should prioritise the service that offers direct CDN integration so that their content is optimised for video, resulting in even higher quality and lower latency delivery to audiences.
Streaming technology can enhance audience engagement by offering:
- Fast performance: Provides efficient file and software downloads and streams high-quality video through a global network and advanced edge caching.
- Low latency: Uses streaming technologies such as SSAI and DRM to achieve reduced latency, approximately 15 seconds behind live, enabling real-time enjoyment of events globally.
When selecting a provider for these solutions, enterprises should consider:
- Advertisement features: Check for Server-side ad insertion or prebid ad technology to support event monetisation.
- Syndication capabilities: Assess whether the solution can distribute streams or clips to popular social media, MVPD, vMVPD, FAST, and OTT platforms while streamlining content processing workflows.
- Data analytics: Determine if the platform offers real-time insights into user viewing experiences and ad analytics, providing valuable information about the environment, device, and demand partner.
As we look towards the future, it’s important for organisations reliant on webinars and live streaming to stay informed about emerging trends and innovations in CDNs. These developments could offer new opportunities and enhance user experiences.
Key emerging trends in this area include:
- Increased emphasis on security: Given the constant threat of cybercrime, particularly in e-commerce, CDNs are increasingly incorporating robust security features, such as DDoS protection, into their infrastructure.
- 5G integration: With the growing prevalence of 5G networks, the demand for content is expected to surge. CDNs must adapt to these networks for faster and more efficient content delivery.
- Multi-cloud integration: CDNs will benefit from integrating with various cloud providers. This approach increases flexibility, redundancy, capacity, and availability, enhancing customer experiences.
In summary, developing in-house distribution networks is resource-intensive and complex, especially when scaling to meet peak demands. Undertaking major IT projects like CDN implementation can be challenging with limited internal resources, as staff are often preoccupied with daily tasks and other priorities. In today’s economic landscape, marked by budget restrictions, many companies are hesitant to embark on such large-scale projects. An alternative is to outsource these initiatives and partner with a credible, experienced third-party provider. This approach can lead to significant benefits, such as cost savings, risk reduction, and improved operational efficiency.