Since live streaming videos has taken its stride, two main applications are battling for this new space on Twitter: Periscope and Meerkat. There have been a lot of blogs and articles on both applications and which one is better. So, I decided to test out both of them to see for myself.
I decided to broadcast my evening boxing workout to the world. I figured I could help promote the UFC gym I belong to and also provide some type of entertainment for the viewers that joined. I chose this specifically after taking a look at what people were broadcasting.
The application doesn’t allow for a lot of options for broadcasts to watch. If you search #Meerkat in Twitter you will find a better list of what is currently being broadcast. Lots of people at work, eating lunch, watching TV, and making coffee.
Although the app has a lot more options of broadcasts to join, it was more or less the same broadcasts: people drinking beer, people at work, someone walking the streets of Rome, and eating dinner with friends.
Comparison and Analysis
Right now the application and the concept of live streaming is still new. What I saw was a lot of people experimenting with how to use it. We are in the discovery phase of what an effective live stream is and what it can do to build a following.
From a business standpoint, finding relevant topics is going to be difficult at first. But even harder will be creating a broadcast that is above the regular meeting, eating lunch, or showing people what’s in the refrigerator (yes, that’s the most common broadcast right now).
Promotion and Visibility
Before I started, my first thought was about how to engage others with my broadcast. After all, I figured hitting a punching bag was going to be more entertaining that driving in a car or sipping coffee in front of others. Both of the applications had features to help promote.
Meerkat allows you to schedule your post ahead of time and posts it to your news feed. This is incredible helpful for providing visibility to your cast, especially if there is an event or performance surrounding something you want your following to see.
However, the application is not fully linked to Twitter, so when you use a hashtag or want to mention someone specifically, it doesn’t pull up autofill options. This means you have to draft your tweet before you move into the application.
I also found out that Meerkat doesn’t give you a character limit. So when I posted my broadcast at the start of the workout, the Tweet did not have the link for others to join because my tweet was too long.
There is no scheduling option for Periscope (which I found odd). So to effectively promote my broadcast I tweeted members at the gym and used hashtags for those who might want to follow along, as well as using the #Periscope tag.
This made for a lot of prep work and prior Tweeting before my broadcast began. It did post a short tweet on my behalf to my news feed, however I did not include any hashtags in fear that it would do the same thing as Meerkat.
Comparison and Analysis
Meerkat has the best ability for prior promotion. The post that Meerkat makes is much more noticeable in a news feed than Periscope and much easier to find during a search. So for attracting new followers, Meerkat is the way to go.
Quality of Video
After wrapping my hands for boxing and setting my phone up in a suitable place to broadcast, I let it start and left it on during the entire hour of my workout. I took note of the screen when I could to ensure that it was working. Here is what I noticed.
I had to use the wireless at the gym in order to stream properly. The signal was strong, but the video kept going in and out. The stream would rebuffer and only have audio for about 2 to 3 minutes at a time. For the entire hour broadcast, the video went out a total of about 35 minutes.
It might be because I have the new Iphone, or it might be that the signal and quality of the application is superb. The video streamed without lag, going out, or any other interruption no matter what.
Periscope has a much higher streaming quality than Meerkat. Losing a signal or dropping video is a sure fire way to lose viewers and possibly miss out on seeing something that audience wants. The clarity that Periscope has is a testament to the amount of money Twitter invested into the app, which gives a realism that almost makes you feel like you’re there.
Participation and Views
Occasionally between combinations (and resisting the urge to throw up, as normal), I would take a look to the screen to see what kind of views and interaction I was getting.
In total I had 13 viewers over the course of the entire hour. Many of those that came into view actually stayed the entire time to watch. They did not send any messages or use the chat features, but I did see their icons at the screen that they were in attendance.
Over the course of the entire hour, I did not have a single viewer. This could be attributed to me not properly promoting the broadcast. Or it could have to do with the fact that there are so many periscope broadcasts taking place that mine simply got lost in all the noise of others broadcasting (Or perhaps no one was interested in seeing a meat head hit a bag with his fists for an hour).
Comparison and Analysis
Meerkat wins this round. Although the app does not work as well as Periscope, the mere fact that there are less Meerkat broadcasts makes them more noticeable and more likely for people to click on it and watch. So for engaging random people on Twitter, Meerkat wins.
Periscope, on the other hand, is probably much better when you have a solid following. There is a feature that allows you to make broadcasts private and invite people to view it. This can be an effective tool for B2B people when creating a broadcast, as it give them a notification to come and watch.
Both applications are still new and people are still trying to figure out how to use a live broadcast properly. The developers have a lot of kinks and features that still need to be added to them to make them effective for business to business engagement. As experimentation expands from both users and the developers, I’m sure that we will start to see these become more practical and effective tools.
If I had to be pressed for my opinion on which one I enjoyed more, I would have to say the ease of use of Periscope. Although I didn’t get many viewers, it worked much better than Meerkat and has more features to utilize and interact with others.