The best time to live stream

Author bio:
John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP Technology and contact center software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as IT Toolbox and BigCommerce.


Creating a high quality stream show is quite an achievement — but getting people to view your content is even more challenging.

As part of your customer engagement strategy, you need to discover how to compete with the vast amount of live video streaming that’s out there. YouTube, for example, has over 2 billion active users with an eye watering 500 hours of content uploaded every minute.

If you want to compete with this insane amount of content you can’t just “hit and hope” when it comes to scheduling — you need to do your homework. Streaming live involves having to focus on planning the event and coordinating the production. But, and perhaps just as importantly, you need to identify the best times to host your live event, too.

In this post we’ll decide how to determine the best times to post your live stream show on YouTube and other live streaming channels.

First of all you need to understand who will be viewing your live stream.

1. Who are your target viewers? ‍👩‍💻

Your target audience will depend on your type of organization and the kind of content you’re live streaming. For example, if you provide courses on something like remote learning best practices, you’ll need to make sure you post your live streams outside of office hours. If you’re a company live streaming to employees, you’ll need to post your shows within those hours.

It’s essential to align your content with the type of material your audience is interested in. It’s equally important to match streaming times with the availability of the viewers. You can assess this availability by creating ideal marketing personas. Developing ideal personas is essential if you are to reach your audience. You can develop them by collecting a list of your current customers or subscribers and finding out as much information about them as possible.

2. Work out when viewers are available to watch your content ⏰

Consider your target audience and their lifestyle. If you sell surfboards, your target audience will be surfers. You’ll need to dig deeper into their demographics, though, in order to find out about their other attributes. For example, when do these people have downtime away from their sport? Presumably not on weekends during the daytime? So you wouldn’t schedule your live stream at this time.

Try to imagine the daily routines your target viewers may have — and the locations they may be in during the day. This will determine when they could be available to view your content. If we return to the example of course providers, you may predict your target audience will be working from 9 to 5. They may also commute to work in a car or via public transport, have a lunch hour, and be eating an evening meal between 6 and 8pm.

Although these are only approximations this may hold true for a significant number of your intended viewing audience. Using this rough scenario you can try to time your stream accordingly.

3. Consider how engaged you want your target viewer to be 💃

Think about the message you’re trying to convey in your live streaming show. How do you wish viewers to engage with the content and what actions do you want them to take? How much attention do you ideally want from your target audience?

Do they have to fully concentrate or can they watch whilst doing other things? Or are you running a live video conference and need viewers to feel fully part of the event?

How long is your stream — will viewers need to spend a few minutes or an hour watching it? Most live streaming is aired in order to increase engagement. Despite people’s generally short attention span, live videos are viewed, on average, for far longer than pre-recorded videos. That’s because they are more engaging.

Interaction rate by post type on Facebook
Image source — https://www.agorapulse.com/

If you want viewers to casually watch a short streamed show, aim to air it in a social setting. For example, when people have finished their sales meeting and are socializing with colleagues, say around 5pm to 7pm. Your show could lead to a discussion and help establish brand familiarity.

4. Do you want viewers to take action? 🤝

Requiring viewers to take action either during or after your live show will require extra effort, mentally, physically, and possibly even emotionally. If your content is designed to elicit a response from viewers, work out at which times they are likely to be more receptive.

The types of actions you may want viewers to take include:

  • Considering and reflecting on your content in order to register for a course or buy a product — requires more effort.
  • Watching and taking an action such as clicking on “like” — requires less effort.
  • Asking viewers to take part in virtual team building activities — requires significant effort.

If you’re live streaming an announcement or hosting a Q&A session for employees, aim to stream at a time they’re likely to be together. For instance, in the lunch hour or in the pub after work. Friday evenings from 5 pm onwards is when colleagues tend to have the largest social presence. That way you can establish a connection with people in a relaxed setting over drinks.

5. Which device do you want people to watch on? 💻

Lots of people use their smartphones to watch live streaming shows. Even though it’s only a few inches wide. New installs of the top five video streaming apps increased over 400% last year.

A recent survey showed that users spend an average of 87 minutes communicating and using social media on phones from Monday to Thursday, but more than 160 minutes from Friday through to Sunday. So maybe a good time to catch viewers with your live stream is at a weekend.

6. Which timezone are viewers in? 🌎

Live streaming limits you to the time zone of your audience. However, so that you don’t miss out on a regional audience of untapped viewers while they may be asleep, you could pre-record your live videos. You could then schedule them to stream at another time of day by using a Restream Scheduler.

Start your broadcast today.
Reach a wider audience across all social platforms.
Get Started

7. Which platform(s) are you using to stream your live show? ☝️

The online hosting solution you select — whether a social media site, a third party destination, or your own website, can help inform you when to stream.

A recent report indicates that the best times to post on social media will depend on your specific industry and the social media site you choose to use.

CoSchedule gathered together 25 studies to identify the best times to post on various social media sites. They concluded that:

  • The best times to post on Instagram for B2C companies are 8am, 1pm, and 9pm and if you’re hosting a B2B event it’s 12 to 1pm, 5 to 6pm, and 8 to 9pm.
  • On Facebook the best times to post if you’re a B2C business are 9 to 10am, 12 to 1pm, 4 to 5pm. For B2B businesses, consider posting at 9am or between 3 and 4 pm.

8. Are you making use of live viewer reports to inform your broadcast times? 📈

By taking into consideration the points we’ve covered in this post you’re already getting better prepared to stream at the right times.

But when you first get started with live streaming, you should see your first shows as tests. Live stream at different days and different times to gather valuable data that will give you insights into your audience sizes. Then you can optimize to show your event at the times that are attracting bigger audiences.

Other insights you should gather include:

  • How many people are attending your live streams.
  • Device ownership — whether viewers are watching on desktop or mobile.
  • Live vs on demand streaming — whether people are watching your content live or later. If most are watching later you could consider using more on demand content.
  • Repeat traffic — are people returning to your live stream events or is it mostly a one-off affair?
  • Duration of views — how long are people watching your live stream? Low streaming duration indicates your content might need work or that you’re reaching the wrong audience.
  • Geographical breakdown — where are people watching your live stream from?
  • Engagement — are the audience interacting with your content?

9. Take into account your competition 👀

It might not be the best idea to livestream when you have to compete with more streamers for eyeballs. Identify your biggest competitors and aim for  a time when they aren’t streaming. Having said that,  it doesn’t make sense to stream when there’s the lowest number of viewers of live channels, such as in the mornings when everyone’s at work.

Aim for balance and try to identify the ideal ratio between peak times, demand, and your competition.

10. What’s convenient for you? 💪

Your schedule as a live streamer is important, too, so make sure your virtual meetings or live stream events fit into your lifestyle. Not everyone can livestream every day, especially if you have a full time job to fit such activities around.

You can still find plenty of opportunities to stream, so long as you do your homework and optimise the time you have available. Once again, balance is key. Find the best possible time to stream that also works with your personal schedule.

Conclusion

The best time to stream will be down to you and your schedule. There’s no “one size fits all”, but in this post we hope you have found some food for thought. With live streaming even more important than static video nowadays, it’s essential to find a strategy that works for you.

Make sure you follow the general rules we’ve outlined. And remember to test your strategies out as you go. In that way you'll discover the perfect time to run your livestream — and ensure that your event outshines the competition.