It is ideal for marketing and presenting information live, such as a link to a:
- web page
- landing page
- affiliate page (with tracking)
This is done by sharing clickable links with your audience, that open in a separate window without interrupting your broadcast.
The Showcase app does exactly what it says. It showcases whatever you’re promoting; marketing; selling; or sharing during the HOA Event and its part of your recorded video once the HOA is finished.
During the live HOA Event you can turn your links on and off in whatever order to suit your presentation. For the video replay however, all showcase links will be present if you leave them turned on.
When the Showcase app is activated, the Showcase panel appears on the right side of the Expanded Player Window – similar to the Q&A app.
A product that’s being promoted or showcased is contained within a “Card”. Each Card will contain a link to a website; can have up to 10 images; a title, and summary information. When a viewer clicks on a Card, a new window tab is opened while the HOA continues in the other window.
Using the Showcase app, a Hangout On Air can Showcase multiple Cards all of which remain active in the recorded video.
I like to think of the Showcase app as providing a very direct Call To Action during the HOA whilst the Host is engaging the audience.
This article shows you how to:
- Setup the Showcase app.
- Create and Edit the Showcase Cards that are created.
- Make the Showcase Cards active during the HOA.
- View the HOA Showcase Cards if you’re viewing via YouTube.
Finally, we’ll broadly discuss Viewer Commenting when using the Showcase app.
Setting up the Showcase app
It is only the Host of the HOA Event that can enable the Showcase app and create the Cards for it. Viewers can then decide whether they want to see it on their Player Window or not.
The Hangout On Air Event will have been created.
The Showcase app is a default app for Hangouts On Air Events so it doesn’t need to be downloaded.
Let’s start. To enable the app, go to the Events Page on the Main Menu.
The next thing to do is enable the Showcase app by clicking on it.
Well done! Now you can create your Showcase Cards.
Two Ways of Accessing the Showcase Panel
Once the Showcase app is enabled, there are two ways to access the Showcase panel to create the Cards. Either from:
- Inside the Hangout Interface, or
- From the Player Window
Both methods are just ways to access the Showcase panel on the right of the Expanded Player Window.
The advantage of using the Player Window method is that Showcase Cards can be pre-loaded well ahead of time.
After the Showcase Cards have been created, the app can be turned off to enable the viewer to have a normal experience of seeing either the trailer that has been uploaded, or the countdown timer to the Event. This will be shown later in the article.
Access to Showcase Panel from Hangout Interface
On the Player Window click on the blue Start button to enter the “Green Room” of the HOA interface. This doesn’t start the Hangout, it just gets you into the prep area.
The inside the Hangout Interface will be familiar to you and was covered when you were shown how to set up a Hangout On Air.
Click on the app to open the Showcase panel.
The other way of getting to the Showcase panel is from the Player Window.
Access to Showcase Panel from Player Window
To access the Showcase panel, click the player arrow on the Player Window.
Creating the Showcase Cards
On the right side of the Expanded Player Window is the Showcase panel with a field in the blue area to insert URL links. Within the field you can see the text “Add an item from a website… “
For this example we’ll use the Plus Your Business website URL:
Paste this URL into the Showcase panel field.
Initially you’ll see the following words against a yellow background: “Successfully saved all pending changes. Shown items will now be visible to your audience.”
A Showcase Card has now been successfully created.
Editing the Showcase Card
To Edit the Showcase Card, click on the edit icon.
Showcase Card Images
- The images on the Card rotate.
- You can have up to 10 images on a Card.
- In our example we have 13 images and I only want 6. To delete an image, click on the red circle icon to remove it.
You can also Cancel any changes or Delete the Card totally.
Making the Showcase Card Active
To let your audience see the Showcase Card you need to make it active by checking the “Show Item” box.
When the HOA Event is finished, those Showcase cards that are active will be seen when the video of the Hangout is replayed.
Showcase Card Links
For each Showcase Card there are two links, both of which go to the same source. One is the blue “Title” and the other is the green “More” button.
When clicked, either link opens to a separate window without interrupting your HOA broadcast.
Finished Creating the Showcase Cards
After you’ve added the links and made the necessary edits, close the Showcase panel by turning off the Showcase app until you are ready to broadcast live.
This is because you want your audience to be able to:
- Make comments on the Event page.
- See the Trailer for the HOA Event on the Player window.
- Most likely you’ll want to present your Showcase Cards in a sequential manner during your presentation.
To turn off the Showcase app, go to the Event page and on the bottom of the Player is the app. Click on it to disable.
Although disabled, all of your Showcase Cards are loaded and ready for when you have your HOA.
Very Important: Remember to enable the Showcase app just before you start the HOA. You can only do this from the Event page.
Viewer Can Turn Their Showcase Panel Off or On
As the Viewer you will automatically see the Showcase panel because the Host has enabled it for the HOA. However, you can turn the Showcase panel off which will make your Player Window larger. Here’s how to do it:
Click on the grid at the top of the Player Window to open the Showcase app icon.
How to View the Showcase Panel via YouTube
Unfortunately the Showcase panel is not available when watching Hangouts On Air via YouTube (or embedded on another website).
What is available is an annotation on the YouTube video screen showing the live HOA Event. It says: “Be part of the conversation. Click here to join the audience for this Hangout On Air”.
By clicking on it, you are taken directly to the Hangout On Air page showing the Showcase panel and Cards.
You also can see annotations on videos that are played on desktop and mobile devices.
Viewing the Video
Viewing the recorded video of the Hangout will contain all the Showcase Cards providing the Host has them active. That is, the “Show item” box on the Card is checked.
For each Card the links are clickable and the images rotate, the same as watching the broadcast live.
The Showcase app and Making Comments
Making Comments is a major difficulty using this app, and unfortunately there’s no elegant solution.
The Comment Tracker can’t be used because of the position of the Showcase panel.
The Q&A app can be used in conjunction with the Showcase app by toggling between the two from the Grid icon on the Player Window. I foresee major difficulties in educating your audience to do this.
Comments on the Event page are a possibility providing the viewer has detached Expanded Player Window and moved it or resized it. Again, not elegant and involves educating your audience.
Forget Comments When Using the Showcase app
Reading the above, you’d have to agree.
But there’s another reason. The Showcase app is being used to specifically promote or market something to your audience. For them to watch your HOA Event they already know and trust you. They also know you want to promote to them during the HOA, because you’ve told them in your invitation.
So the “getting to know” each other and the interaction via commenting would have already occurred during prior HOA’s. Having Comments is not that necessary when doing a well-planned Showcase promotion.
Final Thoughts on the Showcase app
I love it.
This has taken Hangouts up a notch from being social and interactive to getting your audience to undertake some specific Call To Action.
A pivotal point not only for Hangouts, but for businesses wanting the next step with their online audience, and that’s selling to them.
This article has shown you step-by-step how to use the Showcase app and edit the Showcase Cards. The benefits of the app were discussed as was the need for comments during a Showcase promotion.
In the next article, we’ll circle back to the Comment Tracker which has just had a major upgrade. That article will be step-by-step again and will supersede the previous article on the Comment Tracker.