You may have heard all the buzz lately about Meerkat and Periscope, the live video streaming apps. Meerkat took off like a rocket in March during SXSW and was the talk of the conference. Periscope had been bought by Twitter two weeks prior and cut Meerkat off at the knees as it was gaining traction by now allowing integration into Twitter.
All drama aside, what do Meerkat and Periscope do and how can you use it for your business?
Both allow you to live stream anything. As in the beginning of any new technology, it takes awhile for people to figure how to use it and in the early days it’s the Wild West. If you open the app you can see live streams from people around the world streaming meetings, lunch with friends or someone just talking (or not talking) to the camera. If you’re streaming from home, people want to see inside your refrigerator for some reason.
Broadcasters are trying it out by showing live behind the scenes streams. For example, Jimmy Fallon live streams the rehearsal of his opening monologue. About 2,000 people tune in daily. Ellen does the same thing on Periscope. That’s not a lot of people, but the people who tune in get to see a celebrity or a brand in a new environment, in their native, raw environment. That does wonders for engagement and creating a connection to their audience.
I’ve stream on both Meerkat and Periscope and they each have a different feel. It’s too early to tell which one will win or if neither will win, but I predict live streaming video is here to stay. The apps will likely look different a year from now and it’s entirely possible that Snapchat will get into the game before too long and change the landscape with their hoards of teenage users.
Who is winning?
Meerkat has been getting buzz, but I think Periscope is currently winning. When I do livestreams I get about 400% more viewers on Periscope than Meerkat and those viewers are more engaged.
Some tips on getting engagement in the still evolving medium is to name your stream something very specific, like “Cooking Salmon” or “How to apply makeup”. Then ensure your stream fits that title. People will naturally come check it out and drop off, but the more you can stick to one topic, engage the views by asking questions and responding, the more engaged they’ll be.
I did a livestream on Periscope and asked for feedback on this article. Here are some features people want to see in the future: ability to search by hashtag, import friends from Facebook, landscape mode (currently you can’t stream in landscape), search by geography and topic, filter.
Right now it’s all free, but in the future, I’m sure streamers will have the ability to add a payment gateway for exclusive content, such as sporting events, backstage band and celebrity interviews, short tv shows, etc.
On the flip side, could we soon see signs posted at events that say “no live streaming”? Privacy issues abound with live streaming.
This is uncharted territory and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming years. The marketers who figure out new technology before the masses capitalizes on an opportunity afforded to the early adopters of building an audience when the barriers are lower, the costs are cheaper and experimentation is encouraged and rewarded.
Updated November 2, 2018 – So neither of them made it. Facebook took them out like a sniper. More on that in this article, Trends in Social Media.