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Livestreaming Goes ‘Up Periscope’ With Twitter’s Latest App

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This week Twitter relaunched its recently acquired Periscope app for iOS. With the announcement, users can expect to see more livestream coverage beginning to pop up in their feeds as Twitter looks to become the destination in social for real-time storytelling. And the timing is perfect. What began as the year of video –  kicked off by Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter making key moves in the space early on –  has quickly morphed into the year of live video, with a focus on unedited and direct livestreams, courtesy of apps such as Meerkat and Periscope.

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While livestreaming isn’t a new trend for social and digital sharing, the new apps and more advanced technology capabilities now allow anyone to livestream at any time. Previously, setting up livestreams was an arduous task –  one that needed tons of equipment, test runs, high production costs and a place to house the content. With Meerkat, Periscope and other apps, the fundamentals are already built in. All that is needed to broadcast whatever is being experienced in real-time is a connected phone. Periscope is mobile friendly, both from a creation and sharing aspect, which is key to the success of any digital trend.

Merging together selfie culture with consumers’ insatiable need for instant content, these livestream apps allow users, brands, publishers and celebrities to share first-hand points of view on their experiences in engaging and sharable ways. Meerkat has already gained more than 100,000 users in its first two months and was a tech standout at this year’s SXSW conference, allowing attendees to share their experiences instantly. Brands are now clamoring to figure out how to maneuver within the livestream space, and with the addition of Periscope into the fold, it will be interesting to see which livestream app rises to the top. Twitter, for one, will want Periscope to remain its own experience and build its own reputation as an app.

As the industry moves to adopt livestreaming, and brands figure out how they can authentically play in the space, there are a few app features marketers will want to pay attention to when considering how it is differentiated from competitor Meerkat.

You may ask: What can a user do on Periscope outside of creating live broadcasts? Below is an overview of what Periscope has to offer.

Specific Functionality Features to Periscope:

  • Broadcast engagement via comments within “chatroom” and ability to generate hearts/favorites from users
  • Permission-based viewership on individual broadcasts
  • Ability to replay and revisit broadcasts in a specific time period
  • Sharing functionality can be tailored to share content widely or with a specific group of users
  • Connectivity to Twitter’s social graph – a person can automatically follow users in Periscope that they already follow on Twitter
  • Rankings of users per engagements
  • Standard functionality on live-stream apps, including:
    • Follower & New Broadcast notifications
    • Download functionality
    • Recommendations on who to follow

Many of the above features are key in what separates the Periscope app from Meerkat, but most exciting is the real-time engagement, broadcast and sharing permissions, and the ability to revisit broadcasts. The last two factors provide a great deal of opportunity for publishers and brands looking to create and share content on the platform.

Marketer Implications

Direct Connections to Celebrities: The largest and fastest growth area for Periscope is creating direct connections with celebrities. For example, Taylor Swift can engage her millions of followers with an unedited, real-time glimpse into her upcoming tour, an album recording session or just a night in with her cats. Red carpet coverage, sneak peeks at upcoming albums and behind-the-scenes tours are all great ways for celebrities to utilize Periscope.

Watch-outs: Unfiltered talent is certainly something fans can rally around, but it can provide some PR issues as well. Coach up and work with talent on how to proceed with caution.

Influencer Programs: Periscope is a great venue for influencers to further extend their role in the social amplification of branded projects. Product placement can be more subdued and set visits can now take place in real-time. Influencers can share their coverage instantly and repurpose the video content later – cutting out standard editing time for video content.

Watch-outs: Brands working with influencers may not be able to to pre-approve content being shared in real-time, which means expectations should be set up front.

Live News Coverage:  Periscope is a game changer when it comes to news coverage – giving users the ability to cover real-time events in a whole new way. For advertisers and vendors, product announcements and rollouts will be covered in real-time. And Periscope will likely have a large effect on more serious news coverage. For example, the explosion in the East Village of NYC this week was covered first on Periscope. Periscope doesn’t include a TV icon on its broadcast streams for no reason – it provides live and continuous coverage of incidents unfolding.

Watch-outs: Whenever it comes to real-time coverage, be it local news to product announcements, brands and publishers should proceed with caution.

Product Announcements & Updates: There are huge implications for retail and CPG brands with the new app. Brands will no longer need a large-scale activation or virtual reality production for users to test drive the latest Toyota model or get a sneak peek at Clinique’s new lip colors. And now that users are able to provide feedback within the broadcast, manufacturers can now test out products before they even hit the shelves. It brings a whole new meaning to the concept of focus groups.

Watchouts: Marketers should make sure they’ve aligned on how to present their products and make sure they’re engaging with the feedback they’re receiving.

Connecting Users: Users can share instant memories with their family and friends – like a child’s first steps – and can then share those moments with larger groups due to the replay functionality. Users can also showcase their hands-on experiences at retail locations, making it that much more important for brands to step up customer service efforts.

Watchouts: Brands will need to be even more rigorous in their social listening to see what users and consumers are sharing about their brands.

As livestreams become more ubiquitous in the industry, it’s essential for brands and publishers to be smart about what and how they share. A brand’s personality, strategic lens and tone-of-voice must be considered when creating broadcasts on Periscope or any livestream app. Users and brands have just begun to test out the creative applications for livestreams, and as we all make the move to consume videos and information via mobile, there is a good possibility that apps like Periscope will become the next generation of live entertainment.

Cover photo via TechCrunch.

Danielle Johnsen, Associate Director, Social Marketing; Orli LeWinter, VP, Strategy/ Social Marketing; Matthew Wurst, VP, General Manager – Social Media; and Lauren Silverman, Strategist at 360i contributed to this post.