Periscope is the live-streaming app acquired by Twitter within a month of launch of rival platform Meerkat. It aims to allow people to ‘view the world through someone else’s eyes’. Periscope has since grown to become the most popular live-streaming app by a long way, with over 10 million users. It is estimated to have over 2 million active daily users. The amount of video watched has increased hugely in the last year alone: between August 2015 and March 2016, the average amount of video watched daily rose from 40 years to 110 years’ worth.

But is it just a flash-in-the-pan, or will live-streaming in general, and Periscope in particular, repay inclusion in content strategies?

Success stories

There are a number of brands that are already using Periscope effectively, including some of the ‘big hitters’ like Red Bull and General Electric. So far, it seems to have been used most successfully for ‘behind the scenes’ content, broadcasts of live events, interviews, and competitions.

Spotify, the music streaming service, has used it to broadcast live guest events in its studio, allowing people to watch it both live and on replay. Although the number of viewers seems quite low, the response has been good. Adidas has used it for behind-the-scenes glimpses, such as contract signings, but also for one of its stars, Lionel Messi, to live-stream a practice session. Red Bull is using Periscope as a way of sharing content that will be interesting to its community.

The difficulty, perhaps, is that Periscope does not really offer any quality analytics yet. You can see how many people viewed each video, and for how long, but that’s about all. Linked to Twitter, you can find out a bit more, but not much. It’s basically only how many people started watching, and your retention rate.

Live-streaming events

With the rising importance of live experiences, it is perhaps inevitable that events are being live-streamed to engage those not able to attend in person. But as with anything new, the learning curve is steep. A recent blog post discussed the lessons learned from live-streaming from the Future of Digital Marketing event.  These included the importance of planning the camera location, and how it will be supported, to ensure a good quality broadcast. As with any live event social media, a quick check before sending, and the importance of monitoring comments was also mentioned.

Live-streaming events can perhaps be considered an extension of live social media, such as live tweeting. But how does it fit into a content marketing strategy? It may be most useful as a way of ‘humanising’ a brand, and starting to build relationships and make connections with customers. It is, however, important to remember that most B2B brands will not have ready-made audiences: they will need to plan each broadcast, and make sure that they can build engagement, not just wait for interactions.

Most importantly, there is no ‘best practice’ yet. Experience to date suggests that live streaming should be considered as an additional element in an overall strategy. Just as Twitter can be used to promote other content, so can Periscope. And similarly, other channels can be used to promote Periscope broadcasts, and ensure that they receive a bit more attention.

Changes and developments

It is well worth keeping an eye on new developments. Because Periscope is still so new, the app itself is still experimenting with new options. For example, it has recently announced that it will soon offer the option of searching for broadcasts by title or topic, through the use of hashtags. This will make it more user-friendly for both viewers and broadcasters. Broadcasts will also be saveable beyond the current 24 hours, meaning that they may be seen by many more people.

Periscope is also supporting increased use of drones to broadcast content. Commentary can be added to drone pictures via iPhones, which will add a whole new perspective, quite literally in some cases.

These changes all add up to huge potential for marketers everywhere. All those using Periscope so far are trying different things, rather like Periscope itself. As a result, the best advice for content marketers about using Periscope is just to ‘try it and see’. Based on what you know about your own community and customers, develop suitable content, that works as a live broadcast, and give it a go, to see whether people like what you do. Experimentation appears to be key with such a new platform.

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