Eli Stonberg is the cofounder of Hovercast, an interactive live streaming and event platform. In episode 15 of The Emamo Show, Eli shares how their feedback loops lead to wildly interactive livestreams.

Taylor McKnight: Event producers have hundreds or even thousands of people coming to their events. But right now they’re trying to figure out how to translate that awesome in-real-life interaction into the virtual world. Tell me about your successful system you call the livestream feedback loop.

Eli Stonberg: We identified a successful feedback loop from different types of livestreams, and for us the model is: prompt, participate, react, and reward.

1. Prompt: What Do You Want Attendees To Do?

Eli: In our Old Spice Nature Adventure the prompt was, "Send us commands for the man in the woods."

Another prompt might be, "Send us your questions for the Q&A." or "Vote on a poll." Clearly ask the audience to do something.

2. Participate: How Do Attendees Respond?

Eli: If you prompt your audience to do something interesting, they'll likely do it and your engagement numbers will go up.

Participation is voting in the polls, commenting, or asking questions. The cast of Terminator: Dark Fate answered questions as they were posted on Reddit's AMA during a nearly 4 hour livestream.

3. React: How Will Attendees Change Your Event?

Eli: The reaction piece is really interesting to think about from an events point of view. You need to decide on a scale of 1 to 10, how interactive your event will be, and then use our tools to help bring that choice to life.

The reason we fell in love with this live stream format is because we actually have a chance to react and take that participation into effect in the show. That’s where things get really interesting.

It basic spectrum is interactive but not super interactive. Maybe just a poll where they’re interacting, but not necessarily changing the show.

Or it could be as crazy interactive as the Old Spice example, where they’re basically playing Mad Libs with the show and filling in the blanks with audience ideas. Everything in between is a spectrum of how truly interactive and reactionary you want your event to be.

4. Reward: Attendees Feel Truly Connected (and the Cycle Starts Again)

Eli: Marketers are just starting to think about, "How do we give the audience their 15 minutes of fame for the labor of the participation they’ve done? How do we compensate them, essentially, for giving us positive user generated content that has made its way on to our show?"

The reward piece is something that as an industry we can do a lot to expand upon.

I think about the Audi Think Faster shows we did with Issa Rae answering questions while speeding around a racetrack. I love the idea that a big Issa Rae fan gets to ask Issa a question that she answers on screen. It’s a big reward.

The Cycle Applied: Event Q&A

How does this really work? Here's how the interactive live-streaming feedback loop looks when applied to an Event Q&A:

  1. Prompt: Send us your questions.
  2. Participation: Audience sends their questions.
  3. React: You pick a great question, display that question to the host who then asks the talent. Hovercast provides tools to help with this step – to filter these comments + questions on the backend and react in a way that you want to as a broadcaster.
  4. Reward: Bring attendee's ideas and participation to life in your event. The graphics operator displays your question + name/photo on the screen as it's being asked to the talent.

Want to learn more about Eli and Hovercast? Check out Hovercast's latest collaboration with Why We Rise, LA County's mental health awareness programing, happening virtually throughout the entire month of May.

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