Is live video streaming the future of social?

Is live video streaming the future of social?

Just when you thought you’d got the hang of social media, it takes another quantum leap forward. Sometimes, keeping up with the latest developments on these hugely popular platforms can seem like a full-time job – but for marketers that do, there are big rewards.

The tech titans clearly thought that the constant stream of comments on Twitter, status updates on Facebook and all that serial snapping on Instagram wasn’t enough to satiate the ever-demanding masses – and so they came up with live-video streaming services, which are now starting to gain traction, providing new ways for brands to interact with audiences.

Newly hatched Meerkat has already notched up more than 300,000 users and is currently only available for iOS, but Android is in development. The app essentially pushes its users’ live video feeds to the accounts of their Twitter followers, who can then re-stream to their followers. Major brands have already signed up and are experimenting with the new service to see how they can develop real-time ads that may be integrated into users’ video streams.

Meerkat had only just been born when Twitter popped up with its own live video-streaming service, Periscope, letting its users turn their smartphones into global broadcast devices. “It may sound crazy,” Periscope says, “but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video.”

Twitter splashed US$100 million on the start-up, which is already garnering attention in the corporate and media world and it too is currently only available for iOS. It can be used as a stand-alone app or within Twitter itself, and unlike Meerkat, broadcasts can be replayed.

Periscope users also have an option to “like” video streams by clicking on a heart – a feature not available on Meerkat. Some marketers have said they may use Periscope for coverage of their events and possibly also for product demonstrations.

The marketing future is live – and it’s coming to a smartphone near you.