Social media networks continue to evolve and to compete for viewer attention and advertising revenue. Visually-oriented networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram, rely exclusively on the sharing of images. Earlier this year, Instagram announced on its website that subscribers can upload videos of up to 60 seconds in duration: the previous time limit was 15 seconds. In June of this year, Twitter announced that Tweeters would no longer be limited to posting 30-second videos. Twitter users can now post videos that last up to 140 seconds – ostensibly to match the same 140-character limit that the popular social media platform currently enforces. The relaxation of these prior restrictions not only creates greater opportunity for brands and paying advertisers, but also for rank and file marketers who want to reach their followers and to attract new viewers as well.
As demand and desire for greater social media interaction – or engagement – grows, traditional social media channels are now challenged to deliver more products and services to advertisers and marketers. Enter Periscope as Exhibit A: a live streaming or broadcasting mobile app, owned by Twitter. Fledgling broadcasters can capture and broadcast content to prospective followers and subscribers in real-time. Videos that marketers record can be made available to the public (the default setting) or restricted to private follower access. Recorded videos remain stored in the mobile app, enabling marketers to access and repost the videos in the future. Followers can view live or previously recorded broadcasts on Twitter or through the Periscope app on their mobile device. Periscope users are also alerted to the broadcasts of brands they follow by convenient mobile push notifications.
The live streaming landscape is competitive. Meerkat, another mobile broadcasting app which generated massive social media buzz in 2015, announced earlier this year that it is developing a new strategy and business model. Facebook, on the other hand, launched its new live streaming feature, “Facebook Live,” to celebrities last year and made mainstream consumer access available earlier this year. Facebook subscribers can now broadcast content on a moment’s notice and interact with viewers. Facebook viewers can engage with the broadcasting agent by commenting on or asking questions about the broadcast, by using the “Live Reactions” feature and by “liking” the content that is shared. This can provide meaningful feedback to the broadcaster in terms of whether or not the content is hitting the mark or if the broadcaster needs to either pivot and change topics or to end the broadcast altogether. Like Periscope, followers can receive mobile alert notifications when a brand’s broadcast is live. Facebook Live videos will appear in your followers’ newsfeeds and are also stored on your homepage.