The Periscope or Meerkat Quandary

Who will be the winner in the great game of Live streaming?

The truth is nobody knows yet. Two spanking new apps released in the Spring of 2015, are showing all the signs of being a Betamax v VHS or Apple v PC battle for supremacy.

For those that don’t know, they are both live streaming apps that work on IOS and Android. The App’s give anybody with a phone or tablet device (along with access to the internet), the opportunity to broadcast LIVE to the world from where ever they are.

My first hint of the existence of these systems came at the opening speech of Social Media Marketing world 2015 in San Diego. Mike Stelzner spoke about Meerkat in his Keynote, little realising that Periscope (A Twitter Supported App) was being released to the world as he spoke.

In the weeks since San Diego, I have been operating both apps, looking for the angle to make the systems work for my business. Shiny new apps tend to take their time to develop. It was pointless to choose between the two, so I went with both to see what happened.

Here are my reflections on both systems along with what would be nice to see coming down the tracks.

Review

Meerkat

Meerkat came first, and so gets first slot.

Meerkat is a downloadable app that streams live to the internet from your phone or tablet. Meerkat links to your Twitter account and notifies all your Twitter followers the moment you hit the stream button.

As soon as you start streaming, followers can see your broadcast, retweeting to others if they like what they see. The top of the screen shares the location of the stream and the twitter ID of the broadcaster.

Below that you see (hopefully many) icons that indicate the Twitter followers who are watching the broadcast. Numbers can be into the hundreds. (I don’t know if there is a limit.) You can also see the title of the stream including the hashtag

Meerkat is very easy to use once you link up your Twitter account. The single page interface asks you to title your stream and has a button marked “Schedule” and another marked “Stream”.

The schedule button allows you to “forward plan” a stream and alert your followers to the upcoming broadcast. It will send you a reminder nearer the time and can schedule 24 hours ahead.

Hit the stream button and you are live!. It can sometimes feel funny talking to no one at the start of the process, but talk you must.

In a few seconds, you start to see the icons of those who are watching. They can comment like and re-tweet your broadcast. They are also free to come and go, so you better make it interesting

When you finish your broadcast, it’s gone, Vamoose! Never to be seen again, at least on Meerkat.

Meerkat does not support the storage of your stream, but it does give the opportunity to overload the storage on your iPhone by saving the stream to your phone library. Being a video, you can expect this to take up Gigabyte chunks of your memory banks!

One thing Meerkat does that Periscope doesn’t, is to let you connect to a Facebook Fan page. A big + tick for that!

 

Periscope.

Periscope is (marginally) my favoured system as things stand. A couple of extra features influence my thinking.

Periscope does pretty much the same job as Meerkat. It allows for onscreen comments, re-tweet capability and also lets a viewer tap the screen, creating hearts that float up the screen. The hearts tell the broadcaster you like their stuff!

Where Periscope wins out is at the end of the stream.

When your stream finishes, it does not disappear. Periscope keep things live for replay over the next 24 hours, allowing people to view your video during that time.

The second reason to like Periscope is the data it gives you after the stream finishes, including viewers Twitter ID. Periscope tells you who is watching on mobile or via a desktop. You can connect with them and follow as needed. To my knowledge, Meerkat does not do this.

The Split Test

On first look at both apps, you see a lot of sunset, cats up trees along with people walking and talking about not very much. I wanted to find a way to provide something useful that people could engage & enable them to respond.

So started @linkedinadviser on Twitter.

The aim is to see how long it take to build a community using one or both of these platforms and find out which one works best for this purpose. Three days in and the Twitter following is starting to grow with no other marketing on any other channel.

I am working on combining my saved streams and getting them on to Youtube. It seems an awful waste just to let them go without making the most of the content. The challenge here is how to make a portrait view look good on youtube.

Watch this space for that one!

Meerkat has a suppurating app in Meerkatch that automatically can do this for you in a very basic kind of auto-posting way.

Future developments we would like to see!

Let’s be clear up front. These are very new systems that are constantly under development. More data on followers would be welcome, especially on Meerkat

More Metrics and measurable data

The ability to notify more than one Twitter account and for Periscope to be able to link to Facebook Pages would be a great move.

All things said and done; there is an opportunity for marketers on these platforms. As ever, the challenge comes in finding a useful way to use the systems that meet the needs & challenges of your client market.

 

Thanks for Reading

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