With its first three broadcasts of “Price Check Live” — a new interactive game show streamed live on Facebook — Walmart has seen:
- 46% more views than its average video post on Facebook,
- 6.8x more reactions,
- A whopping 29x more comments, and
- An outpouring of positive viewer sentiment.
Where video performs better than static images or text posts on social channels, live video outperforms everything.
Until recently, most brands considered live video only in the context of streaming physical events, like talks or conferences. But as more brands use live video for marketing, they are rethinking what the format can do.
Case in point: Walmart.
Among the world’s largest retailers, Walmart’s pioneering use of live streaming illustrates the opportunities live unlocks: the unrivaled viewership and engagement, but also its unique capacity to generate urgency, humanize a brand, and drive action in real time.
Here’s how Walmart is innovating with live video to deliver big outcomes:
“Price Check Live”: A Game Show as Content Marketing
Designed to engage Walmart’s 34+ million Facebook followers, the live show features a series of guess-the-price challenges for bundles of Walmart products, and viewers submit answers in real time to win store discounts and cash prizes.
Episodes of the show stream live on Facebook every Tuesday at 12 pm PT, and each installment runs for approximately 15 minutes.
Walmart Achieves Multiple Brand Objectives with a Single Concept
Beyond its entertainment value, “Price Check Live” represents well-conceived content marketing that advances objectives across the marketing funnel.
- Reinforce brand identity: Walmart uses “Price Check Live,” which centers on customers guessing the price of products, to underscore its ethos and market position as a pricing leader.
- Grow brand affinity and customer loyalty: By making it easy to win — anyone who guesses the right price receives a store discount code — while offering the chance at a $5,000 cash prize, Walmart rewards customer engagement and demonstrates care for its community.
- Humanize the brand: With its fun, human elements — from its congenial host to the real Walmart Associates it features — “Price Check Live” spotlights the friendly faces behind the brand.
- Generate awareness and interest: With themed episodes (e.g., Halloween, tailgating), “Price Check Live” both showcases seasonal items and delivers essential information about product pricing, helping move its audience from the awareness and interest stages towards the desire stage of the customer journey.
- Drive engagement on social: As a real-time interactive game with prizes, “Price Check Live” not only activates Walmart’s Facebook audience — prompting viewers to enter answers in the comments section as well as to guess more than once — but also enables Walmart to expand its audience by attracting new followers.
How Live Video Transforms Walmart’s Customer Engagement
Much of the runaway success of “Price Check Live” is attributable to its format — the levers live video makes available and the consumption patterns it unlocks.
The urgency of live video: Focusing attention
As we’ve discussed before, live video — as transient content — commands attention in a way that on-demand content doesn’t.
In an on-demand paradigm, the always-available nature of content degrades its value — because there’s always something else to consume. In contrast, live creates temporal “scarcity” and thereby taps into feelings of FOMO and exclusivity to spark urgency.
“Price Check Live” leverages the inherent urgency of live video to draw in audience and spur participation. And it turbocharges that urgency by giving away prizes and rewards for viewership and engagement.
Boost from platform algorithms: Expanding reach
A less visible — but no less critical — facet of live video is how it fits into content algorithms on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn Live.
Given the engagement power of live, Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes live video streams, showing them on more news feeds and displaying them higher on feeds.
That expands even further the reach of Walmart’s “Price Check Live” — producing even more opportunities for customer engagement.
Two-way conversations: Driving real-time engagement
Central to “Price Check Live” is live video’s ability to unlock real-time engagement.
Watch Audible’s Robyn Torkewitz Fink describe how live video reinvents customer engagement.
Live video is the rare format that allows for a brand and its customers to participate in a real-time, two-way conversation — and at scale.
Teams leverage that live feedback mechanism for a variety of use cases, including marketing (live Q&A’s, behind-the-scenes tours, product demos), recruitment (online info sessions during which job candidates can pose questions to and receive answers from hiring managers), and B2B customer success (online office hours during which customers can ask questions and get real-time guidance from brand reps).
Streamed live on Facebook, “Price Check Live” uses the same real-time engagement tool to make possible its interactive game show:
- On the show, the host presents a bundle of Walmart products and asks viewers to guess the total price.
- Viewers have 15 seconds to submit their guesses in the comments on the live video. (They can also tag Facebook friends to watch the live stream.)
- Once time is up, the host announces the total price.
- Viewers who guessed correctly receive a discount code and are entered into a drawing for a $5,000 cash prize.
In addition to the game, the show host also reads out viewer comments during the broadcast.
The value of real-time engagement
For Walmart, real-time interaction with its audience changes not simply the timing of customer engagement; it also changes the nature of that engagement.
Beyond driving viewers to like, share, and comment at a dramatically higher rate, “Price Check Live” — through real-time engagement — allows viewers to feel seen and heard, helping forge a stronger affinity for the Walmart brand.
Similarly, that in-the-moment interaction between brand and audience creates a more favorable environment for persuasion. Walmart’s audience is tuned in, attentive, and present — and, crucially, it feels like it is a part of a conversation — all of which contributes to a greater openness to the brand’s communications.
(As an analogy, think of a real human interaction with a salesperson versus seeing a static text ad: Which is typically more persuasive? Live video mimics that sense of “someone there with you.”)
That receptiveness further makes a viewer more likely to retain information from a live video broadcast (such as the availability of a holiday-themed product, its specific price, or even the broader message that Walmart offers low prices), making for more informed, more primed customers.
Real-time engagement, therefore, isn’t simply about the quantity of interactions, though “Price Check Live” has delivered numbers that outstrip other Walmart content. It’s as much — or more — about the depth of customer engagement and its ability to stimulate desirable action, even after a live video stream ends.
How Walmart Innovates with “Price Check Live”: Insights for Your Brand
It’s not simply that Walmart is leveraging live video streaming with “Price Check Live”; it’s how Walmart is using live that provides insights for brands looking to explore the potential of the format.
Here are key take-aways:
- Experiment with content: Most brands still tend to use live video primarily to stream physical events. However, as mentioned above, there are many more ways to use the live video format. “Price Check Live” illustrates how powerful it can be to pair the inherent urgency of live video with the entertainment value and incentive of an interactive game. But there are lots more possibilities.
- Optimize for mobile: “Price Check Live” video broadcasts all use vertical orientation. Seventy percent of YouTube watch time and the majority of Internet usage now occurs on phones. For live video content, consider streaming vertical video, which allows you to fill more of the screen than a landscape video when viewers hold the phone vertically (which they overwhelmingly tend to do).
- Create a recurring, branded show: Cadence and predictability are critical to growing an online audience. That means regular output and familiar content. Walmart’s third broadcast, for example, generated 10x the engagement of its first two. Instead of brainstorming brand-new content for each live video stream (a process that can frustrate plans to produce regularly and can challenge viewers to buy in anew every time), try one repeatable idea — a game show like “Price Check Live” or a show like AMC’s “Thursday Ticket“, which discusses the week’s new movie releases.
- Leverage customer engagement: As discussed above — and as illustrated by Walmart’s “Price Check Live” — real-time interaction with customers is among the most valuable aspects of live video streaming. Whatever content you conceive, incorporate real-time customer interaction into the structure of the live.
- Spotlight your people: Live video suggests content that is immediate, unfiltered, and authentic, making it an ideal format to humanize your brand. In “Price Check Live,” Walmart features a friendly host, but also real Walmart Associates. Doing so helps to give a human face to a brand, helping build affinity among customers (while also helping grow employee engagement and morale).
Walmart’s first episodes of “Price Check Live” prove the engagement power of well-conceived live video content.
From its innovative game-show material, to the way in which it leverages real-time customer interaction, to its repeatability, the show illustrates how a brand can harness live to achieve its objectives — and then some.
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