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Website Planet interviewed LiveMe’s Director of Operations, Iman Abdelaal, an accomplished professional with vast experience in the media and entertainment industry.
We looked at how LiveMe, a live streaming social media platform connects creators of all sorts with people from around the world, and how content moderation and fair compensation breakdowns will be a challenge in the near future.
What you will learn in this interview:
LiveMe’s strategies for growth and retention to amass a user base of over 80M+ across 176 countries
LiveMe’s Competitive Advantages that helped them win the 2023 B.I.G. Awards Product of the Year, Samsung App store ”2021 Best pan-entertainment award” and “Most Innovative Company” by Fast Company in 2018
Why creators go back to LiveMe after leaving
4 future predictions for the future of live streaming
Which types of creators benefit the most from what you offer?
Live streaming benefits a variety of creators but it tends to be most advantageous for:
1. Gaming creators: Live streaming has become integral to the gaming community, allowing gamers to share their gameplay, interact with friends in real time, and build a dedicated audience.
2. Performers: Musicians, comedians and other entertainers can connect directly with their audience, perform live, and engage in real time interactions, creating a more intimate and immediate connection.
3. Event Hosts: Live streaming allows organizers to broadcast conferences, panels, or events to a global audience, reaching those who can’t attend in person.
4. Businesses and brands: Companies use live streaming for product launches, Q &A sessions, and behind the scenes glimpses, fostering transparency and direct communication with their audience.
5. Fitness Instructors: Live streaming fitness classes allows instructors to engage with participants in real time, providing feedback, motivation, and a sense of community.
What makes them eventually choose you over your competitors?
LiveMe is more than just an app, it’s a community. Users can build life-long friendships here which is a huge part of why creators and users join our app and stay. We also offer great incentives to our creators – flexible location-independent working hours,opportunities to be featured and discovered, and competitive salary bonuses.
LiveMe is more than just an app,
it’s a community where users can build life-long friendships
Based on user feedback, we find that our creators build a unique experience on LiveMe – unique to the competitors in that we foster a really tight-knit positive experience for the creators. We’ve heard stories of people meeting on the app and getting married, people meeting and becoming great friends and people finding a really supportive group for some of life’s challenges.
Our US team at LiveMe is small but we’re unique in that we come from different academic, professional and personal backgrounds. This has helped us reach our community in a different way. We really focus on connection with our creators.
Although we do market research on what other platforms are doing, it’s merely so we can compensate competitively. Other than that, our competition is really just ourselves. We want to create a great experience based on what our users ask and need from us, rather than focusing on what’s working for other platforms.
Some of our most successful creators have been able to fully quit their day jobs and monetize on LiveMe. My favorite stories are of those who have been able to use their income streams on LiveMe to fund small businesses they’ve founded or those who have just been able to quit jobs they were unhappy at and support themselves using LiveMe.
The beauty of Gen Z is that they’ve challenged the traditional norms of a 9-5 work style and have made it normal to channel their energy into creative avenues such as Livestreaming.
Since you started, what helped you grow and retain your audience?
Some of the strategies used to grow the user base of our app, have included leveraging the App store, Google Play store and Samsung Galaxy store. This, along with our strong social media presence, and online ads/ sponsorships is a part of our regular growth strategy, however word of mouth from current users inviting their friends to join them on LiveMe is definitely a huge contributor to the building of our community.
Our retention strategy is a little old fashioned. We believe that retaining our users and managing our churn rate is most effectively done by building strong relationships with our community. We do our best to listen to the feedback they provide and pivot in the directions that we feel will have the most positive impact on our creators. Each signed creator on the platform is assigned a person of contact that will help them navigate the app, grow and help them solve any issues that arise for them on the app.
However, this isn’t always successful. Live streaming has become a super competitive industry. With this, we have experienced losing creators to other platforms whose sole focus has become recruiting our creators. They do this sometimes by creating accounts on our app and fostering connections. They then offer these creators a higher starting compensation than LiveMe offers. However, oftentimes these companies offering a higher 1-3 month compensation cannot sustain these users because they then decrease the compensation from those creators pretty significantly. In these cases, more often than not, the creators return to LiveMe.
Because the industry has become so competitive, a lot of new initiatives are risky and really require a lot of trial and error. In early 2023, we launched an influencer program that focuses on targeting users that already have a large following on other platforms. This program offered a much higher compensation package, but it wasn’t as successful as we imagined because when targeting creators that already have a massive following, you then need to compete with the compensation of much larger platforms, sponsorships, pay per video, non-compete agreements, etc.
What we’ve learned from this, however, is that live streaming isn’t for everyone. It requires creators who are really comfortable with live content. It’s not the best space for creators whose content is heavily edited and curated. We used to look at successful creators and thought that since they already have the following and the success on another platform, that they’ll be suitable for live streaming.
However, live streaming is really only successful for creatives who value engaging with their audience, having real conversations and being comfortable showing the good, bad and ugly on camera.
What tools are you using to run your business and daily activities?
The most essential daily tool being used by our teams to manage our user engagement, content and moderation is Columbus. Columbus is instrumental in managing agencies on LiveMe. Without it, we would not be able to support our agency managers with the same high quality service. Columbus allows us the functionality to transfer, add, remove, and alter everything from creators, creator contracts, and agency administrative management.
Beyond administrative actions, the Columbus system functions as a database, which helps us investigate certain issues. One example — among many others — is when an agency manager receives an error message when trying to sign a creator. Through Columbus, we can find the creator’s device ID, which allows us to check whether a creator has other accounts that have been signed or not. This is one of the key reasons this error message may occur and exemplifies one of the ways in which Columbus helps with the POC function.
Other tools we use are OBS which provides the infrastructure for video production and allows creators to enhance the quality of their live streams with overlays, graphics and transitions.
We also use external tools like Discord that help us engage with our creators and help our creators engage with their audiences in real time. A tool that is currently in the works for our team is Beehiiv, which we’ll be using to ship out our newsletter where we’ll highlight new features, creator spotlight, offline events, monetization opportunities and other updates from our team.
What perspective do you have about where your industry is headed?
Some people might not fully grasp the interactive and spontaneous nature of live streaming. Live streaming isn’t just about watching content. It’s an opportunity for real human engagement, where viewers can interact with creators and other audience members through chat, gifting and other live streaming features.
Additionally, the potential for unpredictable moments and the authenticity that comes with live broadcasts differentiates it from pre-recorded content. Some people might also underestimate the diverse range of content available on live streaming platforms, which oftentimes spans from gaming and entertainment, to beauty, educational and lifestyle streams.
A common challenge for live streaming is being able to manage and moderate content in real time to ensure a positive and safe environment for users. This means finding a balance of freedom of speech and expression and preventing harmful behavior which can sometimes be more complex than anticipated.
Moreover, as live streaming is becoming a feature on other large platforms, it’s essential to keep up with the compensation breakdowns so that creators are compensated fairly and competitively. As the industry continues to grow, there could be an increased competition for audience attention and a need for platforms to continually innovate and retain users. Addressing these challenges will be crucial for the sustained success and development of the livestreaming ecosystem.
In order to properly manage this potential industry shift, we will be hyper focused on user engagement, observing new alternative live streaming platforms, more monetization opportunities, and focusing on more of a global reach.
Some alternative directions that live streaming could be headed and has in some ways already started are:
1. Virtual reality integration: This would incorporate a more immersive and interactive experience for both the creators and the audience and really redefine live streaming.
2. Augmented reality enhancements: This would allow creators to provide more digital elements in the real world during streams, providing a more unique form of audience engagement.
3. Highlighting niche talents: This would help focus and categorize talent based on specific interests or industries providing a more tailored experience for those looking for a very specific type of content.
4. E-commerce integration: Live streaming could evolve as a key component of social commerce focusing on a more seamless shopping experience integrated into livestreams. This would also allow another source of monetization and creativity for creators.
What’s in the roadmap for your future?
A huge trend in the social media/ live streaming spaces, and the internet as a whole at the moment is definitely AI. There are many positive applications for AI that can only improve the industry, but there are also some dangers and negative uses for it.
Many creators have shown interest in AI tools that enhance their content creation processes by offering ways to optimize and streamline some of the more tedious aspects of content creation. This includes AI-powered photo and video editing tools, caption generators, and other automation tools. Influencers often enjoy the time-saving aspect and the ability to maintain a consistent and polished aesthetic. From a business standpoint, AI is definitely something in the works in order to help our creators maximize their opportunities.
Creators can also benefit from AI for analytics and optimization purposes for their overall growth as creatives. AI tools that analyze audience behavior, suggest optimal posting times, and identify content trends are welcomed by those looking to maximize their reach and engagement.
However, some creators also express concerns about the potential impact of AI on authenticity. The rise of deepfake technology and the use of AI to create hyper-realistic virtual influencers has sparked discussions about maintaining genuine connections with followers. Some influencers may actively avoid certain AI applications to preserve a sense of authenticity.
It’s essential to recognize that creators’ attitudes towards AI can vary widely based on factors such as their niche, target audience, personal values, and the specific goals they have for their content. Additionally, the landscape is likely to evolve as AI technology continues to advance, and as creators adapt to new opportunities and challenges in the digital space.
Bethenny eats, sleeps, and breathes digital marketing. She helps clients take charge of brand awareness and create lead generation strategies via a number of marketing channels, including email, social media, SEO, and content. When not a marketing superwoman, you can find her playing with her three dogs on her five-acre property, or planting yummy treats in her vegetable garden. (She is also a bit of a Real Housewives junky, #guiltypleasure!)