In the age of ephemeral content and channel proliferation, it’s no wonder some marketers feel like they are forever playing a game of catch-up.

Shiny new technologies regularly appear, hit critical mass, and inevitably get surpassed by better tools.

Take the recent rise of live-streaming for example – it is a popular medium transformed into an entirely new format.

With an injection of social along with the time-sensitive nature of breaking broadcast, live-streaming is simply an age-old device repurposed for the present times. 

What does it mean for all of us?

As traditional social channels are coming close to saturation, tech companies need to build new channels to invigorate their consumers.

For brand marketers, this offers a tremendous opportunity to access tech-native early-adopter millennials and post-millennials – the customers of today and tomorrow.

Most of whom have foregone broadcast, print, and 1.0 social networks for next-gen platforms.

When it comes to advertising value, according to eMarketer, digital video advertising spending grew 46% to $7.7bn in the US last year alone.

Meaning marketers are increasingly betting on the success of these live platforms. 

#SendMeToSleep – the world’s most sleep-inducing social campaign

A good example is the #SendMeToSleep social media campaign we rolled out in time for the World Sleep Day.

As part of this campaign – during which we actively tried to create content so boring it was capable of sending our audiences straight to sleep – Philips broadcasted what Twitter tells us is the world’s longest Periscope stream.

For 41 hours straight, we showed splashes of paint being added to a canvas.

And because the whole campaign was engaging and worked as a holistic experience, more than 6,000 people tuned in to watch paint dry.

Besides being strangely soothing and entertaining, the campaign has achieved significant commercial success which should be the cornerstone of any good marketing strategy.

Periscope & Facebook Live: A modern day David & Goliath?

At first glance, it might look like Facebook is the obvious winner – it has the size, money, user base and brand trust as a popular advertising platform.

Despite all this, however, I wouldn’t count out Twitter just yet.

Four reasons for choosing Facebook Live:

  1. Audience: Facebook has a user base of 1.2bn people.
  2. Brand presence: Live broadcast can bring life back to Facebook brand pages that have been lagging behind Instagram and Twitter in terms of engagement.
  3. Spending power: Facebook has been on a spending spree signing over 140 contracts worth more than $50m with the likes of CNN, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.
  4. Pioneers: Airbnb and Disney teamed up for the Jungle Book premiere, Chevrolet used it to launch its new electric car, and Patron taught viewers how to master the perfect drink. 

Four reasons for choosing Periscope:

  1. The “cool” factor: Twitter’s user base skew younger, more diverse, wealthier, more educated and more likely to live in urban areas. This will drive usage as the two platforms integrate.
  2. Additional features: The native app offers a dedicated space with broadcast tabs, account tracking and sketch & reaction options that just make it a bit more fun and user-oriented.
  3. Content: Periscope recently secured partnerships with GoPro and Thursday Night Football (NFL) to ensure a lineup of engaging content.
  4. Innovation: Periscope just recently announced a series of new functions such as drone feed integration, search functions, and auto-save through app and Twitter comments.

What are the downsides?

Live on camera, some products, and even some people, may not work well.

It’s difficult to be smartly scripted while still coming across as authentic, and a constant stream of comments from viewers can be hard to manage and moderate.

It’s also important that you own what you’re streaming. No brand wants to end up tied in legal battles because they streamed content where ownership and rights haven’t been made clear.

As with all new tools, it’s not easy to measure a return on investment. How you measure success – do you look at viewer numbers or drop-offs, likes or the comments?

Lastly, live-streaming without a clear strategy and a clear focus on quality and relevance will ultimately disappoint the audience.

Who is the winner? 

At this point, it’s still too early to call.

However, the competition is heating up, with YouTube and Tumblr unveiling their competitive offering along with lesser known players such as Live.ly, Livestream, and Hang all releasing their own live broadcast services.   

If you’ve already placed your bets then make sure your content fits with the medium and you’re totally clear on ownership, quality, and measurement.

Everything after that is just a stream away. 

For more on this topic, read:

Blake Cahill

Published 14 July, 2016 by Blake Cahill

Blake Cahill is Global Head of Digital at Philips and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (1)

Steve McComish

Steve McComish, MD at London PR

Hi Blake, I would have put my money on Facebook at the outset due to the sheer number of users but I have to say Periscope has impressed and achieved a real grip on the market with its early success.
I still don't underestimate Facebook though and we are starting to see more widely reported news events debuting on FBL. Interesting to see how this one plays out. Great post.

almost 2 years ago

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