What have we learned from doing each dev live stream?

Some developers strongly utilize live streaming for promoting their titles. And I’m not talking about utilizing influencer marketing (although it is quite a powerful tool). I’m talking about these live streams which feature your game’s developers as streamers. We’ve conducted 4 such broadcasts so far and we’ve learned quite a lot during each of them.

Disclaimer – it seems that there had been some live streams broadcasted by people in the company before the first live stream I conducted, but they featured no commentary and consisted exclusively of gameplay, so they are not taken under consideration, since my vision was entirely different.

1st live stream – Fishing Clash – February 24th 2020

First live stream, which we hosted, happened a few weeks before the lockdown was enforced in Poland, however we already knew that it was likely to happen, so we took our chance. We cooperated with Piotr, a Fishing Clash game developer. Conceptually, it was supposed to be a Q&A, so we didn’t prepare much of a scenario, relying pretty much exclusively on our community’s engagement. And that’s basically what we wanted to achieve – provide fun and spontaneous (to an extent) content, which could clarify some misconceptions about the game. Of course, we wanted to make something more than just a Q&A session, so we decided to have Piotr play the game and we also held a lottery and had a giftcode valid only during the broadcast. This simple combination of 4 elements proved to be quite succesful. Piotr fared quite well as a host, however lack of a script and stress resulted in me gathering the best questions, writing them down in an office software using a huge font and waving to Piotr in order to make him read them. Here are some conclusions:

  • a setup of 2 computers and an additional screen worked well,
  • having an additional screen wouldn’t be bad, but certainly wasn’t necessary,
  • lottieries work as well as always,
  • a single live stream’s able to generate engagement, reach and other stuff along these lines which is what we’d usually generate in 3-5 posts,
  • 2 hours seems to be an adequate length for a live stream, although host’s throat seemed to deteriorate significantly near the end, so I was getting him a lot of water,
  • the „waving communication system” turned out to be effective, but stressful, tiring and was constantly causing Piotr to look to the left (I was off the screen; he had to turn his head), which wasn’t aesthetically pleasing and was disruptive to the flow of the stream.

While the stream was an undeniable success, there was a lot of room for improvement. And then the bloody plague came, so there was no possibility to conduct a live stream for a few months. All of the live streaming plans had to be put on hiatus.

2nd live stream – Solitales – August 7th 2020

As you can see, quite a lot of time passed between our first and second stream. This one also happened to be conducted right during the initial featuring of Solitales, our solitaire-match three game. It’s main purposes were to redirect traffic from the app to the Facebook page. We decided to repeat the previous formula to an extent, however the situation was quite different and needed some afjustments. Contrary to Fishing Clash’s live stream, we didn’t have much of a fanbase at this moment in time. Also, the person, who was to be a host, Magda, preferred to do things her own way. We expected that way less people would attend and that community won’t be able to carry the broadcast with their questions, so we decided to prepare a script. It contained a general plan of what was going to happen, topics which Magda was supposed to talk about, while playing the game – mostly in order to showcase the game and to engage people with her opinions and stories. In order to redirect as much traffic as possible, we decided to post an information about the stream to Solitales’ Facebook page and we also prepared push notifications with direct links to the stream. And we also had a lottery. The stream was to be 2 hours long. Here’s what we learned:

  • the „waving communication system” was improved by introducing another window on the screen with Facebook’s live stream preview; effectively, we had a makeshift teleprompter which turned out to be useful (and I didn’t have to wave my hand so much, lol),
  • the script absolutely helped us with delivering interesting content,
  • push notifications worked decently and we were able to redirect quite a lot of traffic from the game,
  • there were some questions and Magda was able to answer them, which established her as a trustworthy host,
  • 2 hours of intensive talking is quite a lot and we ended the stream just in time, because she started coughing uncontrolably right after the broadcast ended,
  • reach, comments and reactions on this post topped everything we had done on this page, so it was certainly a success,
  • convincing an employee to be a live stream host with a pizza turned out to be a viable idea.

3rd live stream – Fishing Clash – September 9th 2020

Moticated by the warm reception of Solitales’ broadcast, we decided to host another Fishing Clash live stream. Again, Piotr was to be the person in front of the webcam. We had a benefit of experience this time, and the entire stream wasn’t as stressful as the first one. We also tried to use a script, but it turned out to not be an entirely viable option in this case. While most, if not all, topics mentioned in the script were talked about, Piotr was prompted to elaborate on them due to an extreme and constant onslaught of questions. We even joked a tad bit after the stream that he underestimated how the live stream was going to go, when he said „I’ll answer all of your questions” near the beginning of the broadcast. That was okay, though. We were aiming for clarifying both simple and complicated topics in Fishing Clash and I feel that we accomplished this objective decently. Also, this stream had to be shorter than the previous one due to undisclosed reasons, but it didn’t hinder the quality of content. Conclusions:

  • There’s no need to clinge to the script if the flow is lively, but it’s a good reminder on what shall be talked about,
  • 1,5 hours seemed to be a sufficient amount of time, and Piotr’s throat wasn’t as irritated as during the first broadcast,
  • having a bunch of glasses of water was a good idea,
  • second iteration of the „waving communication system” worked decently,
  • even though the stream was shorter,
  • we’re in the talks regarding making livestreams for Fishing Clash happening regularly.

4th live stream – Flip This House – 18th of September 2020

This was, hands down, my favourite live stream we’ve ever conducted – and also the one I’m the least satisfied by. Don’t get me wrong – we tried a lot of new things, most prominently, the two hosts formula, which went absolutely wonderfully, because Eliza and Karolina did just so well and their positive outlook and chemistry between them was top notch, I barely had to do a thing. The thing I’m dissatisfied by was just how few people saw this absolute banger of a life stream. It was due to some software errors and we either could move the stream, or roll with it, and we chose the latter. We used, as usually, a Facebook post to announce their performance a few days before the broadcast, but our push notification tool, unfortunately, failed. And we learned during the Solitales live stream, that using this feature makes for some decent redirecting. We did everything by the book – we had engaging hostesses, a lottery and a ton of confidence in ourselves. And yet, I feel that I could’ve done somehow better. Conclusions:

  • ALWAYS make sure that your in-app communication features work well, or that your community is big enough o carry the livestream,
  • script was invaluable for us this time, although our hostesses had a ton of spontaneous banter, which was great,
  • two hosts make a huge difference and it’s a format which we’ll surely explore in the future,
  • team of the product usually cares a lot about a live stream, so I’d like to thank Honorata, who pushed me to write about the stream in our company’s inernal chat software (I purposefully was trying to avoid talking about the broadcast, because I wanted to have as precise and exact data as possible, however thanks to Honorata’s efforts, Karolina and Eliza really felt special that day, knowing that the entire company was rooting for them),
  • it’s high time we increased our production values.

Epilogue

As you can see, each opportunity to have a live stream turned out to not only be a fine opportunity for creating valuable content and for revving stats up. The amount of stuff we learned along the way is staggering, especially because each time we had a number of things which could’ve been done differently. We surely will conduct more of them in the future, trying to make them as good as possible, while learning even more along the way. We already have some plans made for the next one. I can’t wait to tell you, guys, about all of the improvements and new conclusions!

Also, keep in mind that there’s also a ton of confidential stuff, which I was unable to share 😉

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