5 ways to engage viewers before your live stream starts

The viewer sits down at their desk, cuppa in hand, logs into the browser and what do they see?

Article by AV1

All too often we see event organisers get to the day of their virtual event and they’ve planned the content down to a T… but they haven’t considered the viewer experience right before the event goes live.

Consider your audience here. They sit down at their desk, cuppa in hand, log into the browser and what do they see? A big fat nothing.

They see a static window. They think, “Has it started yet?”, “Have I got the right time?”, “Guess I’ll just send that quick email while I wait…”

Before it’s even started you’ve potentially got a distracted, disengaged audience.

We get it – there’s so much to think about with live streams and planning one is a lot different to planning a live event.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of ideas to help to engage viewers before your live stream starts.

Countdown timer

This is super simple and one of the most basic things you can do to keep your audience paying attention from the beginning. They see the clock ticking down and know exactly how long they have to wait.

Using this tactic will ensure the majority of your viewers are watching the stream from the very first second you go live.

It’s also easy for your tech team to add to the stream feed and shouldn’t cost you any extra.

Blurred behind-the-scenes view

People love to see what’s going on behind the scenes. Why not intrigue them and drum up some anticipation by making the camera feed available during set up – even if it’s blurred.

This means they feel part of the event and a little special for getting a sneak peek behind the smoke and mirrors. It also means they know for sure that the event hasn’t started yet, since they’re seeing people moving around the set.

Image supplied by AV1

Video loop

Perhaps the most engaging option is having interesting video content playing before ‘go live’. It will definitely engage your viewers from the get-go.

It’s also a great option to boost exposure for sponsors if they have decent video content to provide.

Whilst it rewards those more prepared viewers tuning in early, if you’re worried about other viewers missing out on the content you can simply make it available again during a break or elsewhere on the platform.

Social feed

Why not encourage your audience to share Tweets, Instagram photos or engage with other posts on social media and then display them on a shared feed based on a hashtag or account tag.

This will drive interest, engagement and a sense of community – something that can be a struggle with virtual events.

engage viewers
An active social media feed can help viewers stay engaged while they wait

Play a game or start a chat 

Facilitating interaction with other attendees online is a great way to boost engagement for your viewers. Of course they’re there to enjoy the content, but often the networking and connections they make online during the event are just as valuable.

Why not have them participate in a group chat, a single- or multi-player game or answer a poll before the stream begins.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you do something. It’ll keep your viewers entertained and on a high before the show starts, providing a positive and memorable first impression.

This article was originally published by AV1.

More reading

5 things to consider when organising hybrid events
Opinion: Intelligent, integrated technology is key to adapting
Virtual events training course continues its success into 2021

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