The Best Apps For Live Streaming – And How To Make The Most Of Them

by Georgia Sanders

Live streaming offers consumers a unique immersion into brand culture, and can often feel like an exclusive invitation to a landscape that once was unobtainable.

Early last year, Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope, a relatively unknown start-up, allowing users to stream live video from anywhere in the world. Going in to 2016, Periscope has gained popularity for its immediacy and its seemingly personal access to intimate and irreplaceable moments – such as footage of refugees crossing the Syrian/Turkish border, live football signings and people attempting to cross a puddle in Newcastle.

The Best Periscope Campaigns

Early adopters included the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts, EA Sports and Benefit Cosmetics.

The platform, according to Joe Barnes of W Communications, is “a really amazing opportunity to capture specific valuable moments.” One example of this was unveiled by Adidas just days after the app was introduced. The signing of James Rodriguez by Real Madrid CF was broadcast from its HQ in Germany and showed Rodriguez putting pen to paper on his contract extension.

Not only did this invite sports fans in to the moment – it also solidified Adidas as the brand in-the-know when it comes to football news.

Sam Olstein, director of innovation at GE, tells marketing agency SingleGrain that “when you give people a peek behind the curtain, they fall in love with the company.” And GE did just that, hovering a drone over its manufacturing facility in Texas, giving an insight in to the inner-workings of the company.

Periscope has also been used by brands to engage their audience with thought leaders. Adobe, for example, offered a 24-hour stream, with members of its team providing an hour of insight into its new product, Creative Cloud.

Periscope vs. Facebook Live

Head of social media management at Social Chain, Mike Blake-Crawford, tells Figaro Digital that “Periscope was one of the first live video applications to market. Unfortunately, the likes of Facebook Live and YouTube Live have learned from the mistakes of Periscope, and have gone from strength to strength as leaders in live video.”

Social Chain’s content director, Tim Hyde, adds that “unlike Periscope,
Facebook is stopping brands from doing sponsored Facebook Live videos with influencers, without going through the brands account. This means that the sponsorship will go through Facebook and is very clear for the viewers. Facebook is basically writing the rules for advertising standards.”

Periscope may have set the bar for live streaming, but it seems Facebook Live’s resources and immense reach are giving it the weight needed to throw Periscope off balance. Yet Joe Barnes thinks that the two can coexist. He says that Facebook is “a giant platform, so has the ability to target live elements to a whole variety of demographics, and many more people. But periscope is quite specifically about moments. It kind of surfs the wave of cultural conversations and cultural mind.”

While Facebook Live offers brands the opportunity to tailor ads to such a specific point, this could potentially diminish its integrity as a source for innovation and thought leadership – whereas Periscope earns its organic views, giving it a reputation for quality content.

The Future of Live Streaming

Now that streaming is becoming a part of consumer consciousness, it could be time for brands to start picking up the tool. Lindsay McInerney of Hootsuite suspects that “very much like websites ages ago and social five-10 years ago, the question at the beginning will always be ‘does my brand need this, and is this for B2B’? Are people sharing anything more than their lunch on these live platforms? But within a certain amount of time, it’ll be just like websites and Facebook. It won’t be a question of whether you have one or not – of course you do. It’s a matter of what it’s being used for, who it’s targeted at and what your strategy is on the platform.”

As the platforms grow, the level of bad content is going to increase – but
through Periscope’s algorithm and Facebook’s targeted ads, we should see more of the good content float to the top of the pool, making the bad content less visible. As Joe Barnes tells us: “The platforms themselves are creating ways to manipulate the newsfeed to show the good stuff more.”

So, while perhaps brands should be experimenting in this initial introduction phase of marketing through live streams, it’s also important to recognise what does and does not warrant ‘good’ content – and on such a new platform, that is going to be the hardest thing to gauge.

“But, as ever,” Barnes sums up, “it requires the right framework of thinking from the off to make sure it’s the right social network, and the right approach, using the right tactical means.”