2022 live streaming trends you need to pay attention to

Don’t fall behind — take note of these 13 trends as you prepare your live video strategy for 2022. Here’s a hint: Live shopping will be BIG.
Live streaming trends 2022

If 2021 taught us anything, it’s that live video has become an indispensable marketing tool. After the 2020 lockdowns, live streaming proved its staying power, becoming more popular and profitable than ever. Streaming increased by 21% globally between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021! If that doesn’t convince you that live streaming is going to dominate, take a glance at these stats:

So it’s vital for creators, brands and marketing teams to know the current state of live streaming, and which live streaming trends are going to change the game in 2022.

From live shopping and faster internet speeds to shorter videos and 4K streaming, these are the trends for streamers to look out for this year.

1. Stories will continue to decline

Instagram Stories dominated short-form video content for several years, but they’ve been surpassed by TikTok and Instagram Reels. Other Stories-like formats such as LinkedIn Stories and Twitter’s Fleets didn’t make it to the end of 2021. What does this tell us? That short-form content will be huge, but it has to be the right kind of content to take off.

Social media users won’t watch a video just because it’s shorter. They want live videos that are engaging and entertaining. The decline of Stories also suggests that viewers are tired of limited-availability content, or videos that disappear after a period of time.

2. Live shopping will transform the customer experience

E-commerce live streaming will be big in 2022. It’s already gained a foothold, especially in China, but several platforms plan to amp up their live video shopping features worldwide. Social commerce — selling products directly on social media — is a huge market, currently worth $51.2 billion in the U.S. alone. The possibility to combine shopping and live streaming on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will herald a new era of in-stream shopping in 2022.

Live shopping completely transforms the consumer experience. During a single live session, brands can partner with influencers who help their loyal audiences discover, review and purchase products. Facebook and Instagram plan to expand their built-in buying options for live shopping, making it even easier for users to purchase within a live session.

3. Live-streamed music will replace traditional radio

Live-streamed music performances and DJ sets are steadily replacing traditional radio stations. Music live streaming took off when the pandemic drove concerts online. In 2022, live-streamed performances will get even bigger, as fans love the close-up, high-quality experience these performances deliver.

The rising demand for music live streams even led live streaming giant Twitch to add a separate category for music channels. If you work in the music industry, live streaming should definitely be on your radar this year.

4. Live-streamed sports will replace televised broadcasts

People have always loved watching live sports, in the stadium and from the comfort of their living rooms. Like music events, sporting events went virtual during the pandemic, and now the demand for live-streamed sports is higher than ever.

The 2021 Olympics drove sports streaming to new heights. Of the 206 countries that participated in the Summer Games, 170 were active on social media, making around 67,000 posts. About 10% of those posts were videos. In 2022, sports leagues and events will need to pursue their online focus if they want to maintain or grow the high engagement they saw in 2021.

5. Live collabs with influencers will boost brand exposure

Brands have understood the power of influencer marketing for several years. But with the rising popularity of live streaming and, more specifically, live shopping, companies should consider pursuing collaborations with live video influencers as well.

Tutorials, product demonstrations, interviews, behind-the-scenes videos and unboxing are already popular live content types. In the next phase of influencer marketing, brands would be smart to work influencers into these formats.

6. Streaming resolution will get a big-time boost

Streaming in 4K resolution uses up a prohibitive amount of internet bandwidth, so it’s not standard in live streaming… yet. With 5G rolling out around the world, internet users will have the necessary extra bandwidth to produce high-quality streams in 4K. Currently, YouTube is the only major streaming platform to offer 4K streaming. As internet speeds get faster around the globe, however, we might see more support for it on other platforms as well.

Virtual reality (VR) streaming will also become more widespread in 2022 when Facebook releases its VR Oculus headset. VR capabilities make live streaming more engaging and immersive, defining an entirely new live experience.

7. Live video will keep getting shorter

TikTok’s massive success — a 45% user increase in less than a year! — indicates how hungry people are for short-form video. In 2020, 60% of videos were less than two minutes long, and only 3% of business videos were 10-20 minutes long. The takeaway? People prefer shorter streams on social networks and head to e-learning platforms or webinars for long-form content.

Instagram has caught on and is finally scaling back long-form video feature IGTV, which was meant to rival YouTube. Instead, Instagram will focus on the TikTok-like Reels format. YouTube also addressed TikTok’s rise by introducing YouTube Shorts. The winds of social video are changing, so if you want to produce long live streams in 2022, make them educational and brand them as courses, masterclasses or concerts.

8. More creators will turn to paid advertising

The decline of organic reach on social media isn’t new; it’s been trending that way for the last few years. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses struggled to reach customers with organic posts in 2020 and 2021. So, if you haven’t started investing more in paid advertising, you might want to get on that.

Organic posting still helps increase brand awareness, provide customer service, and build relationships, so you shouldn’t abandon it altogether. However, to reach a larger audience and boost leads and conversions, you’ll want to consider promoting some of your top-performing posts. And when you live stream on Facebook, YouTube and other platforms, experiment with advertising options to enhance reach and drive action.

9. TikTok will reign supreme

If you’ve reached this point in our list, you won’t be surprised that TikTok is on track to become the most important social media platform in 2022. It reached one billion users in September 2021, making it the seventh most popular social network in the world. As more and more people discover TikTok, marketers see the potential for reaching new audiences on the platform.

The introduction of business profiles, ads and the creator marketplace has also made TikTok more business-friendly. And TikTok is looking to hop on the live shopping wagon by offering a live streaming format. If you’re planning your live video strategy for 2022, TikTok should definitely be in the mix.

10. Affiliate marketing will drive monetization on Twitch

Twitch streamers can monetize their channels in several ways, including donations, becoming a partner or affiliate, or the new Boost feature. In 2022, affiliate marketing will drive monetization efforts on the platform, as 76% of Twitch viewers appreciate brands that help their favorite streamers achieve success.

Partnerships help drive sales of promoted products and boost streamers’ visibility. Twitch already has a limited form of live shopping that allows viewers to buy full games or in-game content as they watch gamers play. But general e-commerce streaming likely won’t arrive on Twitch the way it will for social media platforms in 2022 (see trend #2). As a marketer, you should focus on promoting your affiliate programs to Twitch streamers.

11. Live audio will get a boost

Most of us thought the live audio craze started and ended with Clubhouse. The audio-only app was all anyone talked about at the start of 2021, but by April, downloads had decreased by 89%. Once live audio became more widely available, Clubhouse lost some of its shiny newness and, thus, its appeal.

Don’t be mistaken: live audio, like live video, will stick around thanks to professional creators. Producing high-quality live audio isn’t easy, so people will only keep listening if it's good. Facebook is already prioritizing their high-profile and professional live audio creators, and other platforms will likely follow suit. Don’t dismiss live audio on social media just yet; we’ll see a resurgence of high-quality audio content in 2022.

12. Live streaming will come to new platforms

Right now, users can live stream on every major social network besides TikTok and Pinterest, but these two platforms won’t be left behind for long! Both plan to roll out live streaming options in 2022. TikTok will focus on live shopping and e-commerce.

Pinterest benefitted from a major shopping and e-commerce boost thanks to the pandemic and should add live streaming functionality if it wants to join 2022’s live shopping trend. The platform will also focus on video content more generally and may introduce an AR placement feature so users can “try” products in their own homes.

13. Say hello to super high-quality streams

As live streaming has become more widespread in the last several years, viewers’ quality standards have gone up. 2022 will be no exception, and streamers will have an even thinner margin for error. More than half of viewers abandon poor-quality streams in 90 seconds or less. If people don’t watch the stream, they don’t see and engage with ads. Poor quality equals profit loss in live streaming.

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Wrapping up

2022 will be a big year for live streaming with e-commerce streaming, live TikTok videos, live VR and more on the horizon.

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