Despite only launching eight weeks ago, the Twitter-owned live streaming app Periscope, which allows users to broadcast live video straight from their smartphones, already generates 10 years of content daily according to its CEO Kayvon Beykpour. And, earlier this week, it widened its reach to mobile users by launching on Android devices.
Aside from users broadcasting live concerts from their bedrooms and controversial streams of PPV boxing matches, live-streaming is also proving popular among several high-profile brands. Some 19% of marketers are planning to use Periscope and rival app Meerkat in their campaigns this year, according to new research from Greenlight.
Here is why it could be time to seriously consider live streaming.
While engaging with the public on social media isn’t new for brands, doing so via live streaming can give fans a deeper connection, according to Ilicco Elia, head of mobile at digital marketing agency DigitasLBi.
He explains: “There’s a spontaneity and intimacy about Periscope, and it can make fans feel like they are part of an inner circle if they are getting a unique live view of a personality or behind the scenes look at a business.”
Pointing to Starbucks, which previously offered a live tour of its Roastery using the real-time video Meerkat app, Eila says the positive sentiment of live streams is already matching platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
He believes Periscope has the edge for brands over Meerkat as streams can be broadcast directly onto Twitter.
Another brand to dabble in live-streaming has been Spotify, which used Periscope to broadcast an impromptu jam session with Irish folk band Villagers.
The stream generated over 400 live viewers and 1,500 ‘Hearts’ – Periscope’s equivalent of a ‘Like’ on Facebook. Josh Karpf, Spotify’s global director of social marketing, told Marketing Week it is considering hosting regular exclusive events through the platform.
He said: “Periscope provides a really interesting format to connect artists and brands with their fans. It’s very easy for us to quickly launch a live stream, like we did at SXSW, and have an artist connecting with his or her fans quickly, and with Spotify as the connector.
“Our goal is connect our millions of fans and followers with the artists that they love and live streaming apps like Periscope, which are constantly evolving too, are a great way to do that.”
With both Periscope and Meerkat already generating celebrity fans such as Madonna and Jamie Oliver, the sponsorship opportunities for live streaming apps are wide reaching, according to James Garside, product manager for apps and digital platforms at global music brand Ministry of Sound.
Although the brand already has its own live-streaming app ‘Live From The Club’, which allows MoS fans to stream polished live broadcasts of its club sets every weekend, it has used Periscope to broadcast live product launch events.
“Periscope provides a really interesting format to connect artists and brands with their fans.”
Josh Karpf, global director of social marketing at Spotify
Garside explains: “I think these live-streaming platforms will see brands increasingly look to sponsored content. We have a tonne of content on LFTC which would be ripe for sponsorship.”
But he adds: “The advertising or sponsorship can’t be gimmicky or brands will lose that raw connection that Periscope provides – I think product placement would be most likely.
“With LFTC we can control what we broadcast but with a Periscope it is more rough and ready. I don’t think you can simply use apps like Periscope as broadcast channels as that’s not why people enjoy using them.”
The rise of your Zoella’s and PewDiePie’s is unavoidable for brands, and Periscope looks ready made to fuel the popularity of vlogger influencers even further.
Since Periscope’s launch in April, early adopter Alex Pettitt from the UK has already generated 15 million hearts and his daily tips on how to maximise use of the service have generated more than 30,000 followers.
Pettitt believes Periscope can offer brands and influencers a unique connection compared to YouTube, where video content does not provide live interaction with viewers.
“The instant feedback Periscope is providing is what traditional broadcasters and brands have been dreaming about for years,” he says, pointing to Sky Sports Formula 1 channel’s use of the app to interact with racing fans.
Chris Moon, head of insights at social ad agency Telegraph Hill, agrees, adding: “We recently launched Betway’s periscope account with a West Ham FC takeover, which saw five players answer questions from fans during a live Periscope Q&A, alongside a keepy-uppy contest.
“This gave fans access to the club in a new way, allowing the brand to interact with real people within their everyday lives, which other marketing channels just can’t do.”
However, brands must remain cautious on what they do show as live broadcasting could have legal ramifications.
Sara Robinson, MD of independent communications consultancy Brighter Comms, concludes: “It would be wise to approach these apps with care because if, say, you broadcast live from a pub and a song is playing, there could be copyright issues or confidential conversations being inadvertently shared.
“While I’m sure other major brands will soon jump on the bandwagon and follow the likes of H&M and Urban Outfitters onto Periscope, they must do so cautiously.”