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HQ app heralds a new era of LIVE content. How should marketers respond?

March 2018

When Cisco predicted in 2017 that LIVE content would count for 80% of video consumption by 2020, it seemed a little far-fetched. But with the seemingly unstoppable rise of the LIVE game show app HQ, coupled with the priority given to LIVE streams in Facebook and Twitter feeds, Cisco’s prediction is beginning to seem a lot more realistic.

I’ve mentioned the roles of Facebook and Twitter in bringing LIVE content to the masses, but HQ is unlike any other LIVE content producer because it’s pioneered its own audience of 1M players on its own app without streaming games on social platforms.

HQs success has been felt across the tech landscape, especially across the gaming, social and content verticals, and its latest round of funding could result in the app being valued north of $100M. With daily games in the USA, UK and Europe attracting hundreds of thousands of players, there are clearly lessons to be learned from this rising star. So what is it about the HQ user experience that makes it so special?

It’s LIVE… obviously

HQ is capitalising on the growing demand for LIVE content, which is being driven by social platforms giving priority to LIVE streamed content in news-feeds. Facebook’s Head of Newsfeed has announced that LIVE content results in 6X more engagement than standard video, highlighting the exceptional response this sort of content can provoke.

It’s Sticky

The popularity of HQ demonstrates the inherent entertainment value of LIVE content, with viewers having an influencer on the outcome of the content, rather than just passively consuming it. It’s this shared power that makes LIVE content so sticky and so exciting.

HQ is also a popular shared experience, with groups of friends playing alongside and against each other, which runs contrary to most gaming experiences, which are primarily played by single players, albeit networked around the world. Not only that, but ”last night’s game” also becomes a talking point in offices each morning. It’s all part of the platform-specific culture that HQ is evolving — with the comment stream facilitating banter between presenter and viewers that further validates the LIVE experience.

Prizes Are Guaranteed

If you reach the final round of a game, you’re guaranteed to win a share of the prize money. No ifs or buts. 

This promise of a prize adds to the excitement of the game, because there’s not a prize draw element to make the jackpot seem unachievable. Since the prize is quite difficult to achieve, it also becomes a badge of pride if you’ve won, with players having the ability to monitor and share their total prize value. 

The Format Is Very Familiar

The trivia quiz concept is a known and loved format (pub quiz anyone?), so there’s no friction for new players at the on-boarding stage.

The HQ app also does a brilliant job of making an old concept relevant to a digital audience, with multiple choice questions, a green screen, real-time data stream and a buzzing comment thread bringing the quiz into the 21st century.

While LIVE content might seem unachievable for most brands, the lessons from the HQ user experience should provide a good start for producing gamified content that generates a lot of engagement. And while most brands are still figuring out how to get it right, and LIVE streamed content has the extra-stickiness of being new, there’s even more incentive to get stuck in quickly.

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