Live video has become an emerging market within social media, with a high percentage of influencers and brands joining the cause. With 52% of marketing professionals worldwide naming video as the type of content with the best ROI, it is vital that the industry knows not only what to include in videos but also where to host the videos. 
We have looked at all the live video services and simplified each platform to help you decide which is best for your brand.
16571671357_f50c31aa76_bMeerkat was the first on the scene in the live video world, released in February 2015. Meerkat can connect to Twitter and allow you to Tweet a link to the live broadcast and when you begin a recording, your Twitter followers that also have the Meerkat app will be notified.
Meerkat also has a feature call Cameo that allows the broadcaster to select a viewer to take over the stream for up to 60 seconds. This makes streaming more interactive for both the broadcaster and the viewers. Although this sounds like a cool feature that fosters interaction between the streamer and viewer, the broadcaster host does not have any way of controlling what the viewer shows during the cameo which means they can easily spoil the stream with nonsense and obscenity, something a broadcast host may not fancy.
These new features may sound like the platform is being innovative and has a strong future ahead but Meerkat only has 2 million users compared to Periscope’s 10 million. The lowest of all the video streaming platforms.
When Meerkat launched in February 2015, it blew up the social media industry, by March 2015 however, Twitter launched Periscope (which it had actually acquired in January that year).
provincia_2016329_862673192When the app was released, Twitter cut-off Meerkat’s access to Twitter graphs, as it allows users to directly stream to Twitter users. Twitter has used celebrities to entice Meerkat users to use Periscope. A source told TechCrunch “Twitter hounds every celebrity after they try Meerkat. Almost to the point of stalking.”
Periscope is all about live streaming, so a host couldn’t schedule live streams or record videos only to be streamed at a later time or date. However, it’s a great tool for sharing any events or stunts. Another plus for Periscope, is that one can use both rear and front cameras on their smartphone. The host just has to double tap on the screen while ‘Periscoping’ to change camera.
With the most recent update, viewers can now view old streams however, these are deleted after 24 hours.
YouTube Live Streaming
CaptureAs the current main video streaming website with over 4 billion video views a day, it seems like natural progression for YouTube to tap into the live streaming market.
YouTube has attracted a large audience for specialising in gaming, news and sports. BT Sports recently live streamed the Europa Cup Final and UEFA Champions League Final on YouTube, allowing everyone to watch it without paying the usual subscription fee.
Users have the option to start streaming immediately or schedule live streams,  they can also change privacy settings so you can decide if you want your live stream made public or keep it private (only subscribers can view it).
There is also a method to monetise the live stream by showing viewers ads or creating a ‘fan fund’ where fans can donate money.
YouTube Live Streaming doesn’t work on a smart phone so to start streaming you would need a laptop or desktop making it more difficult to stream live events. You will also need to download an encoder before you can start streaming, as this compresses the video so it will be available for viewing on more devices including mobile.
Facebook Live
maxresdefault (2)With more than one billion active users on Facebook, using the large audience already on the social media platform is an unmissable opportunity to advance live streaming even further.
It is the easiest to use out of all the platforms, when creating a status just press the live stream icon to start streaming. Also, unlike the other apps that delete the live stream after 24 hours after it is finished, Facebook saves the stream as a video on your timeline where you can delete it if you like or keep it for posterity.
As part of the Facebook algorithm, the live videos will be places higher on users’ newsfeed. This means that when your brand is broadcasting a live video, the content will be boosted to the top of your follower’s newsfeed meaning a wider reach for a brand without boosting a post.
However, it doesn’t come without faults. Earlier in the month, Buzzfeed was supposed to host the first interview with President Obama using Facebook Live.
Shortly before it was supposed to begin, Facebook Live failed and BuzzFeed turned to YouTube to stream the interview instead. BuzzFeed began streaming with some opening remarks, but the feed cut-out before President Obama arrived. As a result, BuzzFeed began directing Facebook watchers to YouTube and the interview went as planned.
We have tried and tested each of these platforms and we are leaning towards Facebook Live as the best live video service. The audience is already there, it places your brand high on a user’s Facebook and it means you don’t have to use a third party app which normally decreases engagement.
Periscope, just like Twitter is a lower quality version of Facebook. It doesn’t receive as much engagement or users as its competitors.
Meerkat is slowly dying and will soon be the Myspace of video streaming platforms.
The true battle is between YouTube Live Streaming and Facebook Live, both platforms have a strong user and engagement rate and both are tapping into celebrities, influencers and popular events.
We expect to see much more of the live platforms begin used over the summer with both brands using the Euros and Olympics as a method of growing its network.

About Liam Pearce