With over 90,000 comments in 8 hours, this engaging live stream & promotional campaign was scary good!

Last week, Telescope helped Grey Advertising produce Applebee’s live stream to promote their seasonal Dollar Zombie drink. The Dollar Zombie Dead Giveaway featured a series of Halloween themed riddles, which viewers were invited to solve in the comments. The first viewer to comment the correct answer won from a series of Instant Win prizes ranging from gift certificates to $10,000.
We’re used to seeing high engagement on live streams, but the results on this particular campaign surpassed expectations. By the time the stream was complete, viewers had left a total of 92,290 comments. That’s an engagement rate of almost 90%.

Engagement = ROI

Engagement rates this high are important because it can actually translate into monetary value. Research shows that consumers who engage with brands on social media are more loyal to that brand, and spend up to 30% more than non-engaged consumers. Meaning engagement has some major implications for ROI.

Marketers can learn a lot from the success of the Applebee’s stream. With the holiday season around the corner and product promotion on everyone’s mind, we thought we’d help out. Below, we’ve pulled some key takeaways for you to use in your own engaging live stream campaigns.

5 Takeaways for an Engaging Live Stream

1. Length

The Applebee’s Dollar Zombie Dead Giveaway stream ran for a total of eight hours. This might seem excessive, but it worked for this particular stream because it was built with suspense in mind, a kind of slow TV experience with peaks of activity around the Instant Wins. It meant the stream could build momentum, by providing sufficient time for new viewers to discover the stream throughout the day, and the Facebook algorithm could do its thing in turning meaningful engagement into organic reach.
When planning a longer live stream, use content that piques viewer interest, invites them to participate or compete, and encourages them to stick around to see the results.

2. Clarity
Applebee’s made viewers aware of exactly what was happening throughout the stream using a series of graphics, text to air displays, CTAs and timers.
Visual displays kept viewers engaged throughout the event and quickly brought new viewers up to speed on the purpose of the stream. Furthermore, countdown timers helped curve drop off, by letting participants know how long they had to stick around to see each riddle’s results.
When planning your own live stream, make sure to let the audience know what they need to do to participate, be clear and explicit on how they stand to benefit from their participation, and keep them informed on timing.

3. Results Moderation
Applebee’s clarified that the first person to answer each riddle correctly would win.
When running a contest, validity is key for maintaining trust with your audience, especially when there’s a large prize at stake. Make sure you have technology in place to ensure you will be able to easily and accurately measure your results. With such a big prize at stake, moderation was essential for running a successful competition.
With tens of thousands of comments coming in for each riddle, it would have been impossible for Applebee’s to sort through the answers manually.
Telescope’s comment moderation tool quickly located and verified the first user to answer each question correctly, so that Applebee’s could announce each winner with confidence, in real-time.

4. Competition
People really like games, and this campaign was one big game. It gave people the opportunity to solve a puzzle.
While this exact type of content doesn’t work for every promotional campaign, think about how you can incorporate competition into your own live streams.
This can be anything from trivia questions, to having viewers vote on something… just as long as you give your audience the feeling that they stand to win.

5. Reward
The grand prize for the winner of this engaging live stream was $10,000. Obviously, that’s a lot of money. But you don’t have to spend that big to get people interested.
We’ve mentioned before that people are willing to participate when the perceived reward is bigger than the effort they have to put in to enter to win. Meaning you can pique interest with rewards that have fewer 0s at the end.
Consider offering discount codes to anyone watching the stream. If you’re working with an influencer, send signed merchandise to a select number of viewers who comment. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you brand. The possibilities (and potential for brand loyalty) are endless.

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Enhance Your Holiday Marketing Efforts with Live Streaming, Instant Wins, and Influencers