How To Make Better Amazon Live Livestreams With Switcher Studio
In 2022, more than 150 million Americans rely on Amazon Prime as a way to get items shipped to their homes quickly and efficiently. With more than 4,000 items purchased *per minute* on the platform, shoppers are always looking for new items -- especially those that come highly recommended.
To capitalize on the attention spans of those millions of curious shoppers, in 2016, Amazon launched its own proprietary livestreaming platform, Amazon Live. In 2019, the company released its Live Creator app, which allows sellers to promote items on livestreams directly from their phones. And in July 2020, the program was expanded to allow members of the Amazon Influencer program to livestream through the app.
For creators, this careful expansion was a game-changer. Mobile livestreaming has turned the social media industry upsidown since the days of Meerkat and Periscope in spring of 2015 -- but arguably, the most successful livestreaming opportunities for creators have come when there is at least some level of 'gated' access involved. I've spoken many times on stage about how wonderful it is for anyone to be able to press a button, hit record and be live to the world -- but in the 7 years since Facebook introduced Facebook Live, what we've seen is that, for the most part, viewers want to watch content with some level of production value and forethought.
This is, of course, not always the case -- we've repeatedly seen how valuable mobile live content can be in a breaking news situation. In the world of social media there are no absolutes, and there will always be exceptions to any 'rule.' But for the most part, we have seen that, because of the extraordinary levels of competition in the streaming space these days -- with countless professional streaming services available at the touch of a button -- content creators need to include some additional production value to earn viewers' attention.
This production value postulate holds true on Amazon Live, where even though there may not be countless other live videos available to watch at any given moment (special events like Prime Day notwithstanding), there is still ample competition for shoppers' eyeballs -- and as the Influencer program continues to expand, that competition is only bound to grow sharper.
Amazon Influencers getting started with livestreaming on Amazon Live do have the ability to livestream straight from their phone -- but viewers will quickly recognize a lack of production value that may have their audiences clicking elsewhere. For an Amazon Live creator looking to get started on their own with a more sophisticated livestreaming approach, Switcher Studio is an ideal software solution that can provide that production value without having to invest in a fancy production team.
To that end, this spring, I partnered with Switcher Studio to launch my own Amazon Live show -- to share lessons with you, as a new Amazon Live creator, on how to assemble your own successful livestreaming show that goes above and beyond without breaking the budget. My show is called 'Shopping With Strub' and airs Mondays at 11am Eastern. You can re-watch the first 6 episodes of Shopping With Strub at http://shopping.strubstuff.com and find all of the items that I discussed on the show, including all the items that I use to assemble my live studio, at www.strubstuff.com.
Getting Started: Although streaming to Amazon might sound complicated, I found that the process of creating an Amazon Live broadcast using Switcher Studio was much simpler than I anticipated. This is because as an Amazon Live creator, you are assigned what's called a 'CONSTANT' RTMP address. Long story short, this means when you get your RTMP information -- basically, a 40-character alphanumeric stream key -- to stream to Amazon, you only have to plug it into Switcher Studio one time, as opposed to finding and copying that information for each stream. In some ways, it's almost simpler than streaming to YouTube or Facebook. Here is a Switcher Studio knowledge base article on how to create a Custom RTMP channel.
Because Amazon Live videos play exclusively on the Amazon platform, the audience is much more 'captive' than they would be on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, where there are infinite other video options playing at the same time. In my years as a livestream producer, the top stat I always keep an eye on is average watch time; on Facebook, an average watch time of 0:15 or higher might be considered good. Check out the average watch time of each of the first six episodes of Shopping With Strub ...
--> Episode 1: 7 minutes, 30 seconds
--> Episode 2: 13 minutes, 40 seconds (!!!!)
--> Episode 3: 6 minutes, 20 seconds
--> Episode 4: 8 minutes, 15 seconds
--> Episode 5: 8 minutes, 24 seconds
--> Episode 6: 6 minutes, 36 seconds
Another stat that Amazon provides creators is the 'Unmute' rate -- that is, how many viewers were both watching *and* listening to your livestream? All 6 of these episodes had an 'Unmute' rate of over 51% -- Episode 2 had an Unmute rate of 72.41%! It's very clear that when people tune in to an Amazon Live stream, you have the ability to keep their undivided attention for a significant amount of time.
Here now, are 6 lessons to help you hit the ground running with your own Amazon Live show using Switcher Studio. These lessons are perfect for a solo creator producing their own show -- but each idea works even better if you have someone to help you produce the show as you host.
1) Use Canva to build graphics to show on screen during your show. I've been a huge fan of Canva for many years, and the easy-to-use templates available through Canva can allow you to produce a professional-looking show with relative ease. I always prefer to create a single project on Canva, pick a color scheme/template, and then copy that same image within that one project to create a consistent look and feel for a particular show. I created about 7 or 8 different images that I display during each episode of the show. I never (well, almost never) recommend scripting what you want to say during a livestream; instead, use your Canva images as talking points to cover important things you want to say during each show.
When you load your images into Switcher Studio, one pro tip I really recommend is to save the images as 'Overlay.' Think of Overlay as if you're stacking that image on top of what's already on the screen. So if you have a lower third displayed (we'll get to that in a minute), or you're using a multiview to show different camera angles or your screen (... we'll get to that, too) -- displaying images as 'Overlay' means that you're simply placing that image on top of what's already on your screen.
If you don't input your image as overlay, you'll have to reassemble whatever other configuration you might've pieced together on your screen. Overlay is a very valuable setting within Switcher Studio that creators should rely upon more often.
As with any other livestream, you should also build a cover image for your Amazon Live stream -- something you can easily do in Canva. The Amazon Live Creator app makes it very easy to upload and replace your stream's cover image.
2) Use B-Roll in your streams. Switcher Studio makes it exceptionally easy to load in B-roll of the products you're talking about into your streams. Check out the 8-minute mark of my first Shopping With Strub livestream to see an example of how I used B-roll to talk about that day's featured item, which was a Homedics Foot Spa. When you load video into Switcher Studio, you can choose to adjust the volume level of the clip, as well as select a stop and start time for the video. For most B-roll, you might want to mute the clip completely so you can continue to talk over it -- or, in the example with the Foot Spa, I kept the volume very quiet, but not completely muted, so that you could hear how loud (or, not loud) the item is. For other items, you may choose to use pre-recorded video as "A-roll" instead of "B-roll" -- with the difference being, A-roll includes the sound.
Amazon does prefer that your livestreams mostly consist of live content, as opposed to playing pre-recorded videos live -- but they also state that they highly recommend using B-roll clips to show products if possible. Take advantage of the fact that you are livestreaming and making a direct connection to the audience by continuing to talk while you play B-Roll, instead of queueing up clips and just playing them sequentially.
3) Use Switcher Cast to show the Amazon product pages. Switcher Studio makes it very easy to switch between multiple camera angles, but perhaps the most important element of your Amazon Live streams might be using Switcher Cast to show your computer screen while you talk about a particular product. You can check out Episode 3 of Shopping With Strub to see how I was able to examine the Star Reviews of each of the different books I was speaking about -- this would've looked much different if I was simply looking at the pages myself, without having the ability to switch camera angles.
Pictured above is a screenshot from Episode 6, with special guest Sydney Nelson. You can see how I was able to position the product page, my video and Sydney's video all on the screen simultaneously -- *and* include branding about the show, and the Switcher Studio sponsorship.
When you're getting started with Switcher Studio, Switcher Cast is a separate app you'll need to download onto your computer. Assuming your computer and Switcher device are on the same WiFi network, when you open Switcher Cast, you'll immediately see your computer screen(s) listed as an input (I use a second monitor in front of me, at eye level ... Switcher Cast allows me to display either screen as an input -- or both!) Here is a Switcher Studio knowledge base article about getting started with Switcher Cast.
4) Use additional iPhones to create extra camera angles. Over my years of being a live event producer and host, I've accumulated several iPhones that I use to livestream different angles at events -- but those devices also work great in my home studio here in Greenville, S.C. In addition to the straight-on "Camera 1" angle, I set up my Amazon Live show with several additional camera shots. For me, "Camera 2" is an overhead shot where I can show different aspects of an item with my hands. "Camera 3" is an angle that I have set up behind me, to my left, that shows the entirety of my livestream setup, including my Rodecaster Pro, my laptop and additional monitor, my ring lights, the "Camera 1" iPhone, and the iPad. Without actually doing the math, I'd say 85%-90% of the show will be broadcast through "Camera 1," but there is immense value in having those additional angles to provide a different perspective and break up the visual monotony for the viewer. Here's a Switcher Studio knowledge base article on how to add cameras to Switcher Studio.
5) Bring in a live guest to talk about products they recommend. I love solo livestreaming -- heck, I wrote my first book about it -- but the power of conversation in a livestream is immense. For episodes 4 and 6 of Shopping With Strub, I brought in live guests -- Dan Gingiss, from Chicago; and Sydney Nelson, from Nashville, Tenn. -- to talk about their favorite Amazon Prime finds.
It's incredibly easy to bring in virtual guest(s) using Switcher Studio, which has a maximum of nine camera inputs that you can use at a given time. So you can have nine cameras set up at your studio; or, in theory, you could have up to eight live guests join you with just the one camera you're using locally. (Actually, using Switcher Studio, you *could* have nine live guests join you, if you don't have a camera on yourself -- but that's pushing the limits a bit :D).
6) Use a 'buffer video' between products. This is a lesson I didn't think about until several episodes in, so you may want to start your show without this advanced tip and see if you want to try it or not.
In a show where you're talking about multiple items -- which should be pretty much every show you do -- you may want to give yourself a moment to take a breath between items, and allow the viewer to think clearly and separately about each different item you're discussing. Using Canva Pro, I modified and edited a quick 10-second countdown video that I now play between each item that I'm discussing. It looks like this:
As you get more and more comfortable and advanced with your live production skills, you can think about even more video snippets you can include in your livestream. For example, perhaps you have a quick :02-second video you can play -- i.e., fireworks? -- if someone comments that they just purchased the item you're discussing. Of course, you can also build in an intro or outro video.
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As with any livestreaming platform, the only way you can truly improve is to get started. If you're approved to be part of the Amazon Influencers program, livestreaming on Amazon Live can be a fun, profitable way to bring additional value to your audience. If you visit www.tryswitcher.com you can get started with 30 days of Switcher Studio for free today. If you have any questions about your Amazon Live / Switcher Studio journey, send me a message on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram ( @ChrisStrub ) and I'll be happy to help.
Chris Strub is the 'Giving Day Guy,' helping nonprofits around the U.S. raise tens of millions of dollars during 24-hour community-wide fundraising events called giving days. Follow Chris on Instagram and Twitter, @ChrisStrub.