How Livestreaming Can Help Businesses in a Post COVID era

Al-Anbat -
How does BIGO see the Middle East region, and what’s your presence in the region?
For BIGO, the Middle East is a very strong growth market. In markets like UAE and Saudi Arabia, around 30 percent of the population uses our applications, and BIGO LIVE is one of the top 10 grossing mobile apps for H1 2021 (Sensor Tower, 2021).
As a company based in Singapore, BIGO has more than 30 offices around the world, two of which are in Egypt and Jordan. BIGO has hired a significant number of professionals that specialize in Artificial Intelligence technology, and we have a full team to review content and ensure that it is at BIGO standards and matching with regional sensibilities, as we believe that this will drive our next wave of growth. This is also our way of helping the locals to develop skills of the future.
How does BIGO see the future of video applications?
Our view and interpretation of video applications are different from how other key video solution providers are designed. The key differentiator is interactivity – on web-based video hosts, you passively view video content, and the only difference from watching television or in a cinema is the opportunity to comment and thereby interact with the creator or uploader. This interaction is not instant. This is similar to app-based video or image sharing providers – users’ interaction with the content is not instantaneous.
This is where Bigo Live differs – our approach helps our users create communities of people interested in particular topics, and meet on a common platform. Users can also choose the extent of their participation – just viewing, liking, commenting, or even joining the live chat. The underlying factor is that BIGO democratizes the potential of video-based interaction, and shifts the power of communications to everyone on the platform.
This, we believe, is the future of video, as interactivity is key. Success will go to those who have interactive video formats which enable people to build meaningful relationships online. There is a place for passive viewing applications, especially as people go to video hosting websites to see tutorials on things like how to change a car tire, or cook a particular dish. We are seeing the tremendous growth of the digital economy when the interactive element is added, which is lacking in the other models out there.
What challenges will businesses face in a post-pandemic world?
Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it and the future is quite uncertain. There are several challenges that businesses are already faced with and we are certain that more will follow. The two challenges we would like to address are the retail experience and the lack of social gatherings at events.
The retail sector has taken a significant hit over the past year due to social distancing initiatives. People are a bit more conscious about where they go and how they spend their time. They opt to shop online which causes a lot of stores to go out of business.
The second is events, although events are starting to come back, there is a limit on the number of people that can attend and enjoy these events. Events in the region also typically showcase new businesses that people can try for the first time
How can Livestreaming help businesses attract and retain customers?
Livestreaming can help businesses in a variety of ways, however the two key factors for business success are (1) Building Trust & Strengthening Relationships and; (2) Understanding what your target audience wants and likes.
Consumers are more likely to buy from people they like and from brands that make them feel connected. With live streams, businesses and the people that work within them can interact with their audience in a more natural and human way – with smiles, laughter and emotion, which enable the brands to build customer rapport effectively. Allowing room for participation to improve digital accessibility is worth the investment, as it can help your customers to build a sort of affinity to the individuals and organization itself – which in turn would lead to business opportunities and further advocacy.
Second, conducting focus groups interviews to understand how a potential product or service would be received by your customers is time-consuming and costly. Instead, live streaming is a great testing ground and businesses can evaluate products and market viability based on viewership, engagement, and almost instant feedback during the live stream itself.
Furthermore, livestreaming can also help gain insight and great ideas from the audience themselves. Honest opinions about existing products and services as well as requests for updates or future features can also be curated during these periods. This does not mean that all of them would be great, but there will be a few that businesses should spend some time considering.
How do you prepare your app for the next pandemic?
From COVID-19 we see the advantage of having social engagement online rather than offline. We believe that after the pandemic, the social activities both personally and professionally will change online for the better as they will be able to create more relationships and social value for each other.
We would like to introduce the value of our platform to more people and business owners by investing more in marketing and by introducing more celebrities and influencers into our platform so that more users will know about us and would recognize the value that we can create for them now and in the years to come.
We believe that as more people will use our platform, it will become more mainstream and the content that people will see will become more relevant to them.
As an Internet company, what is BIGO’s view of the future of technology?
At BIGO, our vision is to create a better-connected world and bring it to everyone. Our focus is on building communities, which is how we believe that our technology and platforms will become relevant to a higher number of people around the world. The role of technology in the future will continue to be about making the world smaller by connecting people across the globe, and improving the human experience, whether at work or at leisure.
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