Should Your Business Use Meerkat or Periscope?

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Much has been made about the battle between new social live-streaming services Meerkat and Periscope, the latter of which is owned by Twitter. Meerkat gained a lot of early buzz at SXSW before Periscope launched, but Twitter quickly launched Periscope, which it had acquired earlier, once that buzz started to gain ground.

Have you tried either Meerkat or Periscope? Do you see potential for using either for business? Let us know in the comments.

Tracey Welson-Rossman, CMO of Chariot Solutions and founder of TechGirlz and Gloria Bell – Chief Digital Strategist at Bell Digital Strategies and Advisory Board Member of TechGirlz tested both apps during the recent ETE Conference, and wrote about their experience, which they shared with WebProNews. The idea was to provide "an actual real world, side-by-side comparison from someone who has a critical need for this technology in their business".

We asked Welson-Rossman if she thinks one platform would be better for certain types of streams than the other. In other words, are there certain types of things Meerkat would be more preferable for or others where Periscope might be a better fit?

"If you have a built-in or targeted audience, Meerkat would work very well," she tells us. "If you are trying to reach a larger – or new – audience, the Twitter connection makes it easier on Periscope. From a technological standpoint, though, there are no real differences. Reports from people who viewed both streams indicate there was no discernible difference in quality."

It certainly does seems like Periscope has the real advantage based on audience potential with Twitter. Asked how Meerkat might be able to counter this, she says, "Our recommendation would be for Meerkat to concentrate on a membership that includes streaming to targeted audiences, closed live-streaming and paid live-streams."

On whether or not Meerkat would be better off if it sold to a Twitter rival, she says, "This market is too early to tell. One of the things that makes it exciting is the range of possibilities."

According to Welson-Rossman, a small number of people at the conference were using either service.

Asked if she expects to continue using both services or just one of them, she says, "Again, it is still too early to really decide. We see potential use cases for both. We anticipate seeing more clarification in potential uses over the next six months or so. Defining factors will include quality, adoption and features. We do know that we will be using one or the other for live streaming, after we buy our tripods to save our arm strength."

"We recommend people trying both of them and finding what works best for them and their individual needs," she says.

In a blog post, the two laid out what they consider to be the pros and cons of each service:

Meerkat

Pros:

- Easy to set up an account
- Easy to give the stream a name / title
- Ability to tweet comments in the stream
- Can schedule a stream
- Ability to save broadcast
- Can target smaller, more direct audience because no auto link to Twitter

Cons:

- Cannot zoom in or increase volume
- Need a built-in audience to gain viewers
- Lack of direct connection to tweet the stream makes it harder to gain audience
- Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone
- Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work
- Hard to understand the metrics for viewership during the broadcast and post
- Lack of documentation on how to use it
- Really need a tripod for a good recording
- No post-viewing metrics

Periscope

Pros:

- Setting up the account was easy
- Ability to save the broadcast
- Connecting to and broadcasting via Twitter was easy
- Ability to tweet comments and likes in the stream, but can’t easily add other Twitter names in the tweet
- Easy to “title” - just like a tweet
- Direct link to Twitter makes for a larger audience but also more possibility for spam comments

Cons:

- Can’t switch between Twitter accounts
- Can only have one account associated with the app
- Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work
- Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone
- Lack of documentation on how to use it
- Few metrics - post view metrics much easier to see on an iPad
- Really need a tripod for a good recording

We recently looked at some data from Socialbakers, which showed Periscope taking a clear lead in terms of number of tweets.

“Content creators have seemingly switched over to Periscope in terms of the number of live streams they’re tweeting,” a spokesperson for Socialbakers told WebProNews. “This data comes from tweets analyzed from our sample of 25,000 brand, celebrity, entertainment, and media company profiles. We determined Periscope and Meerkat live-streams based on the links in the tweets (We excluded certain extreme outliers that were posting a ton of live streams, but the trend is the same regardless.).”

“Around March 26th when Periscope launched, these profiles began posting many more Periscope live streams and fewer Meerkat live streams on Twitter,” they added. “Now, the majority of live streams posted are Periscope ones.”

According to AdAge, brands aren't rushing to either service which isn't a very good sign, because brands always rush to everything. It wrote on March 27:

On March 13 -- the first day of SXSW when Meerkat was really catching on -- Ad Age pulled the most recent 200 tweets from each of the top 100 brands on Ad Age's list of the most-advertised brands by U.S. measured-media spending in 2013. That list includes heavy hitters such as AT&T, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Ford and Walmart. None of those tweets contained Meerkat links.

On March 27, Ad Age ran the same test, this time checking for either Meerkat or Periscope links in the brands' 200 most recent tweets. Of those 100 brands, none had directly tweeted a link to Periscope, though T-Mobile had retweeted a tweet linking to the app. And three -- Verizon, L'Oreal and Intuit -- had tweeted a link to Meerkat, including a few retweets.

Obviously a little time has passed since then, but still, that's probably not the reaction any new social platform is looking for when it's starting out. Brands were even rushing to Jelly when that launched.

Do you think either Periscope or Meerkat (or both) will become a major platform? Tell us what you think.

Image via Socialbakers

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.