Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that live video streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope have been sneaking their way into the marketing mix since late last year. What does that mean for event marketers? Eventually, you’ll have to decide which real-time service is best suited for your brand’s marketing strategy (or if it fits that strategy at all).
Both Meerkat and Periscope use social media platforms to broadcast live footage from a smartphone. Both give viewers an option to “like” videos and allow public chats within the streams. Both display the number of viewers tuned in live and both allow users to live stream for an unlimited amount of time. So what’s the difference? Here, a breakdown of the two most popular live streaming apps taking over the social media scene, and who’s using them.
The first-of-its-kind app launched in late February and debuted at the South by Southwest interactive festival in March, generating plenty of buzz along the way. Meerkat allows users to broadcast live video streams to followers by cross-posting a link to the footage on social media channels. The app takes the ephemeral approach, meaning broadcasts may only be viewed as they are occurring. When the stream ends, the footage is no longer available to viewers (although the broadcaster may download and save a copy).
When it first launched, Meerkat was solely integrated with Twitter, requiring users to sign up for the app through their Twitter accounts. But when the social media giant blocked Meerkat’s access to some of its social data, the app loosened its ties to the platform (having a Twitter account is now optional). The app now aligns itself more closely with Facebook, which allows users to share their live broadcasts directly to their Facebook page.
Another key feature that distinguishes the app from Periscope is a Meerkat broadcaster’s ability to schedule streams, which can be advertised in advance on the app and on social media. For experiential marketers looking to build anticipation for the live stream of an event, this component of the app could be a huge perk.
As an added bonus, Meerkat is now available to Android users, giving it an advantage over Periscope, which is only available on iOS at present. Here’s a taste of who’s using Meerkat, and how:
As part of its Priceless Surprises campaign, MasterCard developed the “Priceless Elevator Pitch,” which gave entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their best idea in 60 seconds or less for a chance to win $15,000, among other prizes. The event took place over three days in March and MasterCard live streamed all 180 pitch videos on Meerkat.
The brand’s first Meerkat video was a live stream tour of the Starbucks roasting and tasting room in Seattle, allowing viewers to witness the roasting process first-hand. The stream ran for four and a half minutes alongside simultaneous engagement efforts on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
One of the first to test out Meerkat, the brand delivered live streaming action of qualifiers for the Red Bull Double Pipe snowboard competition in Aspen, CO.
The rival app launched in late March after being purchased by Twitter in February and took its first steps with a major advantage: Twitter’s power over the social media landscape. Thanks to a recent software update, the app no longer requires users to sign up for the service via a Twitter account. Although Periscope continues to urge users to access the app through Twitter, they now have the option to sign up using only a phone number.
In addition to allowing users to broadcast live video streams (in most cases via a Twitter link), the app allows for private broadcasting—an option that is not available on Meerkat. The feature lets Periscope users determine who will have access to their footage before they go live (although broadcasters can only invite those who follow them on the app), rather than broadcasting the footage to anyone who tunes into the feed.
Periscope’s greatest advantage over Meerkat, however, is its ability to retain content for a full day after a broadcast. Viewers have the option to replay a live stream over a 24-hour period after it has been posted before the footage is lost, while the broadcaster may save the footage indefinitely. This feature could be crucial to marketers who fear their stream may not have reached enough viewers during the live broadcast. Here’s a taste of who’s using it, and how.
The brand began using Periscope as a means of repaying followers for their engagement. A three-minute live stream in March revealed a table full of Mountain Dew-branded gear and a chalkboard drawing of the word “swag” pointing to the merchandise. Following the stream, select viewers were rewarded with the branded gear for engaging with Mountain Dew in real time.
As a precursor to the brand’s Bombshell Day event, which encouraged women to pamper themselves while posting on social media, Victoria’s Secret turned to live streaming. The brand offered a preview of the affair on Periscope prior to the event to create hype for the big day.
The brand recently unveiled a special announcement via Periscope, informing consumers of its Cinco de Mayo biscuit taco giveaway a few days prior to the event. The footage generated thousands of hearts (the app’s version of “likes”) during the live stream and racked up plenty more following the broadcast.
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Regardless of which live streaming app you choose to employ, both Meerkat and Periscope have huge potential in the marketing world—but there are limitations. Copyright infringement could stop you in your tracks if you don’t do your homework.
Broadcasters are generally prohibited from using their footage for commercial purposes without express permission. Anyone featured in promotional content must sign a release, meaning brands need to be prepared if they plan on using live streaming footage in their advertising.
Nevertheless, if you follow the rules, live streaming could be the key to delivering the raw, unfiltered content many consumers seek. As authenticity increasingly serves as a vital element of most marketing strategies, apps like Meerkat and Periscope pave the way for brands that are dedicated to engaging their customers in a genuine way.
In this monthly series, EM brings you tips and tricks from pros and experts who eat social media marketing for breakfast. So eat up, and check us out on Twitter @eventmarketer and Facebook.com/eventmarketer for more.