The social media community is reeling and in an uproar from the sudden closure of Blab. There’s considerable shock that the platform would be shut down within its die-hard community. My Facebook newsfeed has been full of the outrage. Yet take a step outside of our little world and it’s easy to see why Blab failed. Only the niche tech publications felt it worth covering.
This is a REALLY IMPORTANT LESSON!
As I’ve said many times, it’s essential to keep the audience of a platform in mind before putting together a social strategy around it. Blab ended up being an echo-chamber for the same faces (only 10% of people who signed up returned according to the founder) and as such was unable to monetize. This is the same issue with many live-streaming options because many people simply don’t have the time during the workday to stop and tune-in.
Moreover, as Blab also noted, most live streaming content just isn’t that interesting to draw people in. This absolutely makes sense if you think about how people tend to consume live-media. It’s no surprise that the main success stories for live stream revolve around sports and entertainment events. It’s important to understand that these are not indicative of the success of live streaming but rather of the specific times when live streaming is a viable social strategy.
In addition to content, another issue with platforms like Blab is that they require an additional step in one’s routine. You can’t stumble upon a Blab on a platform that you’re used to accessing. You had to establish a different account and use a different app. There has to be a massively high incentive to do this for the average consumer which once again is why the content has to be very compelling. This is why out of all of the live streaming options I’m betting on FacebookLive as the breakout option.
As social strategists, it is essential to think about the way in which our target audience consumes content. As I’ve written elsewhere, experimentation is great but it’s not a social strategy and live streaming is a great example. Where it succeeds is where there’s a diehard base eager to consume real-time additional content. But just because it works there doesn’t mean it will automatically translate to other areas.
Of course, this is true for all platforms and why some have succeeded while others have failed. The saga of Blab is a great learning experience for the social media marketing world. Let’s make sure to take it to heart.