Social Live Streaming Apps: A Look At The Competition

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There has been a lot of excitement around the mobile live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope. While Meerkat was left to fend for itself when Twitter cut off its API access, Periscope has emerged as a favorite among marketers. The competition is still tight, especially with Meerkat’s recent launch of Cameo with Facebook integration, which holds the promise of connecting brands and influencers in meaningful ways.

To be clear, live-streaming is a long established medium. Platforms like Ustream, Twitch, and Bambuser have been serving the world with live content for more than a decade. What’s different with Meerkat and Periscope is the mobile-first approach, which enables brands to deliver exclusive content to an increasingly mobile audience. Neither Periscope nor Meerkat offer paid advertising products, so at least for now, the mobile live-streaming industry is in the experimentation stage. But that hasn’t stopped the emergence of influencers on both platforms. In fact, Nestle was one of the first brands to run a sponsored influencer campaign on Periscope for the Drumstick brand.

While Drumstick was able to broadcast live scenes from across the U.S., the campaign depended heavily on the connection between Twitter-Periscope. Likewise, Meerkat Cameo allows brands to invite creators to takeover a stream, and promote that takeover on Facebook. According to Adweek: Cameo seems ripe with real-time marketing possibilities. So, the question probably isn’t if brands will use the feature to work with influencers or celebrities but when. Surely both Periscope and Meerkat will develop paid ad products. However, for now, brands and marketers are already helping to develop use cases on both platforms. The stage certainly seems set for influencers and social media creatives to help brands tell compelling stories using live video.

One big question remains: Which platform is better? While data indicates the two networks are neck in neck, it also indicates that Periscope is on track to drive more long-term engagement. According to Keyhole analytics, not only does Periscope have more users who return, but there are more active influencers on the Twitter-owned platform. Arguably, if you are an established influencer on Twitter, it’s much easier and more convenient to grow your presence on Periscope since your audience would get a notification each time you starts live broadcasting. Whether or not Meerkat and Periscope will dominate the mobile live streaming market is yet to be determined. Snapchat seems only a step away from providing live video functions with its “Live Story” section, and recently introduced native advertising solution “Vertical Video Views.” Yahoo also launched a social messaging platform Livetext , which many dubbed as “Periscope meets Snapchat.”

The app allows users to text their friends while sharing real-time videos and images on screen simultaneously. All of this points to an arms race of sorts among mobile-first live-streaming video providers. Influencers will be integral in exploring and establishing the best uses for each platform. As always, the cream will rise to the top and users will flock to the network — or networks — that deliver the best experience.

This article originally appeared in Social Times .