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Michael Ash
Michael Ash 22 October 2015
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How Periscope Is Changing Expectations

From the mundane to the majestic, live-streaming apps are redefining what we can classify as share-worthy.

When Marshall McLuhan

spoke about "the global village," I doubt he could have ever imagined the explosion of broadcasts on Periscope, the live-streaming app.

My first encounter with Periscope was courtesy of Mark McAllister. I kept on receiving a push notification, "LIVE on #Periscope" and eventually got hooked. From the mundane to the majestic, live-streaming apps are redefining what we can classify as share-worthy.

This medium is allowing new individuals and companies to stand apart from brands that may have bloomed on YouTube. Partially because what works in a controlled environment, may not be agile enough to thrive on demand. Still, the bigger question remains: as strategists, what do we broadcast on behalf of the brands we represent and who should take ownership? Especially when it comes to live events.

 

Who’s Watching?

In June of 2015, a couple of interesting US statistics surfaced from Horizon Media. As it turns out, "Half of 18-to-34-year-old respondents said they used or would use Periscope or Meerkat." However, this number quickly dropped when it came to other age groups. In addition, only one-fifth of US internet users polled by Horizon Media were said to have used Periscope or Meerkat. I should note, Horizon’s study took place before the Mayweather and Pacquiao event, which brought a blow to live Pay-Per-View broadcasting and subsequently made Periscope even more famous. 
 


The Numbers

In August, Periscope claimed that its platform surpassed 10 million accounts, partially due to the release of an android friendly version of the app. The most shocking statistic so far? There has already been "40 years of video watched per day." But how does this benefit brands? The best benchmark Periscope laid out went something like this: "Success for broadcasters means more time watched on their broadcasts. Success for the audience (viewers who are watching and participating in a Periscope) means more high quality broadcasts in their feeds that they want to watch and participate in." That my friends is engagement on a level very few platforms have been able to conquer. This is real-time marketing like never before.
 

The Challenge

When a new medium surfaces in our world, keeping your blue ocean becomes the hardest part. Unfortunately for Periscope, Meerkat is hustling for whatever users it can get its claws on. Going back to that older study from Horizon Media, Meerkat has an usual awareness skew towards a male demographic. Which makes sense in hindsight, considering how the user interface of Meerkat resembles Periscope on steroids. Having said that, Meerkat has already surprised pundits by pairing up with Saks Fifth Avenue for New York Fashion Week and enabling viewers to watch the gathering from multiple vantage points. Make no mistake, Meerkat is loaded with features that make Periscope obsolete, but the simplicity of Periscope is what is so appealing about the app.


Tips For The Road
Periscope’s official tagline is "Explore the world through someone else’s eyes," but not everybody agrees with this statement, especially when it comes to live events. Live events were supposed to be the last refuge for the sports and entertainment industry and suddenly everyone has become a broadcaster. Even Taylor Swift is rattling a few fans by hiring a police of anti-scopers. Rather than have a debate about what your tribe should or should not broadcast, let’s talk about what you can offer from a brand’s perspective. Over the past few weeks I’ve dabbled with Periscope myself and observed viewers show appreciation for the following: 

  1. Spontaneousness

    YouTubers may have become overnight success stories, but Periscope will unleash a whole range of identities that thrive of spontaneousness. People and brands who are quick on their feet can own untapped real estate because they don’t require studios in order to connect with their audience.
     
  2. Sneak Peeks

    Afraid of the overhead costs your events will incur? Show your tribe what it really takes to put together your events. Not only will they appreciate the exclusive content, but they’ll also have a bigger appreciation for what they will be paying for. The biggest myth in our generation is the absence of the personal time invested to deliver the goods. Whilst "making it look easy" used to be the mantra for influencing others, consumers are craving to see the hard labour that goes into making something happen, hence the rise of everything artisan under the sun, which is a topic for a different day. 
     
  3. Real Talk

    To stand out in a saturated globalised market, you have to be more human than human. In my opinion, the best scopers out there greet their visitors, respond to their comments, and share a genuine enthusiasm for their tribe. Nowadays, customer service reps are so far removed from their end-user that Periscope may be one of the last outlets to put a real-time face on what would have been traditionally a shop keeper’s outlet. The lesson here? Be more human than human. Tell your brand’s story and give value to your audience. Ask me anything (AMA) broadcasts are popular for a reason.

If the sold out Periscope summit in New York this past week was any indication of where things are headed, expect to see it play a bigger role at VidCon in the years to come. Let me know what your thoughts are and how you would best use Periscope to amplify your personal or corporate brand. Like, share or comment below.

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