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Up until 2 days previous to writing this blog I had what I now see as a rubbish old iPhone 4. Don’t get me wrong – it worked perfectly – but there was one reason I upgraded to the new shiny iPhone 6 and that reason is Meerkat.

Meerkat is the new trending app on the block and it wasn’t compatible with the old phone and IOS system

Meerkat and Periscope (twitter’s own live video streaming app) which launched just 2 days ago are the new frontier in video marketing. What they offer in essence is live streaming app with a more user-friendly and engaging interface than UStream or Livestream

At the time of writing Meerkat was the “Best New App” in the App Store on March 25th and was knocked off the top spot by Periscope the day after on March 26th

For those non-techies there have been comparisons to Snapchat and the blink and you’ll miss it set up and there is an ephemeral feeling to both Meerkat and Periscope which is where it differs from what you may think of video marketing.

This isn’t Youtube, this isn’t the permanent video sat on the front page of your website. For us it feels a lot more relaxed and less stressful than filming pieces to video and a lot more conversational – like a really friendly networking meeting

Over the past 48 hours I spend the 1st 24 hours just watching and getting a taste and feel for each platform, before I did my 1st broadcasts in the last 24 hours

A few live streams in – here are our thoughts so far

Meerkat for us seems to be the platform with the quality control on content

From us watching Meerkast (is that the description) over the past 24 hours, users are going onto Meerkat with the ideas of providing useful, informative and entertaining content

We’ve watched everything from thought leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk broadcast the recording of a podcast and sharing insights through to a great pizzeria in Toronto (@torontopizzeria on twitter) giving a behind the scenes glance on what happens at an italian restaurant

It’s a truly engaging experience and I’ve not see this level of retention . engagement since the early days of facebook where you logged in and could spend hours on it

The rules of whatever happens on Meerkat happens on twitter are a fantastic addition with viewers being able to comment and ask questions in real time (albleit with a short live delay) – this is linked in to your twitter mentions

In terms of Twitter engagement – Meerkat streams so far have received double the level of engagement of average posts at this time of day and replies per day are double the average day – it’s an impressive leap and will only grow as UK usage picks up

Periscope Twitter
On our 1st 2 streams Periscope received double the number of viewers than Meerkat did, but it was an altogether more detached experience

There is the feeling that Periscope is a broadcast platform rather than an engagement platform – which would work for some businesses

Unlike Meerkat where the content seems well thought out and planned (although still informal), there seems to be a lot of trials and “nontent” filling the Periscope feed.

If you remember back to the Ice Bucket Challenge, where the comments were “I’ve never seen so many people’s back gardens” then Periscope the thoughts are “I’ve never seen so many people’s desks and commutes to work”

As much as there is whole infrastructure of twitter behind it, I just can’t warm to Periscope yet, although I’m sure it will find it’s place and become a great place for watching live events and seminars.

I can also see a huge future for news channels and journalism with Periscope. On Meerkat you can save your video to your phone, but there is no online playback system for viewers who might have missed a broadcast, which means mainstream media will look to capture authentic content from the street in the same way they now look to tweets as authentic commentary

Just 2 days in to compare it’s hard to say which will win the live streaming battle – if indeed it is a VHS vs Betamax style war

There are uses to both apps and although I’m warming to Meerkat more, once the noise filters out of Periscope and it get’s a more user friendly interface things could change

The biggest barrier to entry in the UK at the moment are the average phone users data allowance and lack of free wifi.

Although the focus is on live streaming I know there is a limit to how “live” it can be due to the fact an outside broadcast in most areas would be impossible with lack of free wifi in many town centre locations.

If I was a small business now I’d be broadcasting informative casts that engage the user base … and if I was customer facing business I’d be letting customers know free wifi is available

Update 6.4.15 : 9 days into both I’m not warming to Periscope due to the volume of viewers on each stream – Meerkat requires a lot of patience and perhaps many businesses just don’t have the time to invest

Comment below once you’ve tried them and do follow us / subscribe to our updates on both apps using the username @altrinchamhq

Ring Alex on 07806774279 or email to chat about  your Social Media Marketing

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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