What Meerkat, Periscope and Mobile Live-Stream Video Could Mean for Brands

meerkat-periscope

Periscope, a live streaming video app that allows you to share and watch live video from your phone, was acquired by Twitter back in January. The confirmation came via Twitter in March. When Facebook, Google or Twitter makes an acquisition, we pay attention.

At that point, the app was still in beta and not live for public use.

Not long after the acquisition, Meerkat, an app that does virtually the exact same thing was debuted at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX that took place March 13 — March 22. The app quickly gained buzz at the festival and climbed the ranks on Product Hunt and made it’s way onto the phones of thousands of early adopters.

This isn’t the first time that live stream video has rapidly garnered our attention, though. In 2007, the likes of Justin.tv (now defunct) and Livestream were the talk of the town. Their popularity blossomed and withered before they truly became part of our daily verbiage.

However, many people believe that this time will be different.

Matt Mazeo, a Venture Capitalist at Lowercase Capital, thinks that things have changed since then. He wrote on Medium about concurrency, the accelerated growth of smartphones, ubiquitous high-speed internet access and how the time may be now for live-stream video to truly take off.

Most importantly, he pondered about what happens when billions of people have the ability to simultaneously tune-in to these more intimate sessions that live video provides at the touch of a button.

Naturally, it got me thinking about how storytellers and content strategist could use the platform to connect with their audiences.

So I did a SWOT analysis of live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat through the lens of their utility as a content marketing tool. I’m the first to admit that marketers can be quick to kill the purity of platforms and scare users away.

But it’s way early in the game. And you’re better than that. =P

Here are some thoughts:

S T R E N G T H S

(A) It’s ephemeral — Live streaming happens in a fleeting moment. It creates immediacy for the user. One of the reasons Snapchat is so addicting for many people is because of FOMO (fear of missing out). Yes, it’s a real and it’s especially relevant in the digital age.

(B) It’s live, but lasting* — One of the features Periscope included after seeing Meerkat users become frustrated with clicking live streams links only to find they were gone was the ability to save videos. That way, the videos can be viewed again later. You could even later post that content to your site.

(C) It’s extensible — People love feeling like they’re where the action is. Think of how you could bring the experience of a local event to life for people all over the world.

W E A K N E S S E S

(A) Video Quality — Streaming of low quality video might degrade the perceived quality for participating brands or organizations. I’ve watched a few Periscope feeds on my laptop and they’re not exactly stunning.

(B) Battery Life — Many smartphones already have shaky battery life. But using your phone to view and stream live video with Meerkat and Periscope are some of the quickest ways to deplete it.

(C) Audience Levels — Picking the right time to live stream any content is key. Who will be watching? There’s a good chance you’ll be talking to an audience of one (meaning you). And with the app being so new, your audience might not be there yet.

O P P O R T U N I T I E S

(A) Scaling Local Event Experiences — One of the challenges businesses face is expanding their audience beyond their local market. Say you’re putting on a big event in a major city like Chicago, but you want to bring that experience to the east or west coasts. Live streaming might allow you to bridge that gap to an extent.

(B) Research / Listening — In the same way that you can listen to what consumers are talking about on Twitter, once the apps become more prevalent, you could tune in to real-time observations on how people are living their lives. Market research firms like Egg Strategy have already partnered with the team at Over the Shoulder to start getting more in-depth insights from consumers and how they use and experience products in real time.

T H R E A T S

(A) Time — Nobody really knows if these apps will take off the way many investors are hoping. Someone, somewhere could be working on an app or product that shifts our attention away.

To summarize: It’s early. Really early. And experts like Gary Vaynerchuck tell us to stop trying to predict things!

But sometimes being the first to embrace and execute well on a platform can be just the boost your business needs.

Try it out, play around with it and maybe you’ll come up with some content ideas that might work for you and your audience.

Or shoot me a note and I’ll help you brainstorm.


Thanks for reading! If you got any value from this, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with someone else. Pay it forward. That’s how we all got here after all!

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