Live streaming app Periscope is relatively new on the scene, but already some big brands are finding creative ways to use the platform to market themselves. After finding some good examples of brands using it abroad we’ve had a hunt around for some New Zealand examples, and the feedback so far is promising. We also take a look at some of the dangers of live streaming and how the content is monitored.
The app came on the scene on 26 March this year, just a month after its rival fellow live streaming app Meerkat launched (Periscope has essentially knocked the app off its perch). Twitter purchased the app for a reported $100 million and officially relaunched the application on iOS under its own app store account, then in May it was released for Android. And already it’s being dubbed as (the recently oft-used term) “disruptive”, with a Herald reporter being informed that “the future of broadcasting is Periscope”. The app is also in the top 10 of app store downloads.
Periscope allows viewers to live stream content anywhere in the world where there is a data connection, and the content will be available for 24 hours after the broadcast has finished. The app also allows other users to comment on the stream in real time. Because the app is Twitter-owned, the streams can also be broadcast live via the user’s Twitter account, and those using the app can automatically hook up with friends who they “follow”. As soon as a user goes live followers will be notified and can join, comment and send “hearts”, similar to Facebook “likes” which have been described by a YouTube reviewer as a “digital round of applause”. For those who have always wanted to be a fly on the wall, this is your best chance to indulge in some voyeuristic pleasure.
Some common themes thus far on the app seem to be sunsets, events and strangely, the content of peoples’ fridges, which has become the first Periscope meme.
According to Adweek, brands have been curious about how to turn live streaming videos into ads. “Twitter doesn’t offer Periscope ads yet, but a campaign from Nestle this weekend shows how marketers can still work slick marketing into the buzzy app.”
Nestle used it to promote its chocolate-topped ice cream cone during the Summer Solstice. It worked with agency Smith Brothers and social influencer platform Izea, then hired some notable Periscope personalities to broadcast some summertime scenes, like backyards, amusement parks and the like. Each stream included the hashtag #ad to indicate it was sponsored and then further pushed it out by Tweeting links with the real time broadcasts.
Some other international brands that have been using it are: Spotify – which posted a behind-the-scenes video with Irish folk singer Conor O’Brien (382 viewers tuned in and the video was replayed 99 times), Mountain Dew – which created a short video titled “Stop by to say what’s up”, the clip showed a girl spelling out the word “swag” on a chalkboard with a table full of branded t-shirts and hats in front of it, Red Bull – which experimented with the app at Miami Music Week, live streamed events happening at its Red Bull Guest House and DKNY – which gave viewers a look into its fashion closet.
And closer to home, boutique Auckland burger joint, Burger Burger has successfully used the app, utilising it to live stream a blind date event it held called “BB Bachelor + Blind Dates” which it ran with the help of Motion Sickness Studio.
“People filled out an online dating profile form through the Facebook page. [We]… played cupid to who we thought would hit it off, and the whole idea was to involve Burger Burger’s audience by live streaming,” Motion Sickness Studio’s Alex McManus says.
Rest assured, those that went on the dates were informed beforehand that it would be live streamed and they were given a $100 tab at the restaurant, he says.
Mimi Gilmour, Burger Burger’s creative team leader says they set up a phone with the Periscope app running before placing it “somewhere as inconspicuous as possible, and then watched creepily from afar".
“Heaps of people have mentioned the Burger Burger vibe is perfect for dates and how there is a gaping hole in all our lives from the loss of Wednesday night Bachelor, she says. “We really enjoy interacting with our fans, and it is even better if we get to involve them in a new Burger Burger experience.”
“We also use it to film our weekly special ‘how to’ that we send to our teams internally but felt that it would be fun for people to get a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ action,” she says. “[It involves] instructions for our teams on ‘how to’ prepare our specials for the week so; special burger, side and cocktail. These are filmed weekly on Mondays.”
She says though it’s a useful tool, it’s still relatively high maintenance. “as you have to be really present, filming on a phone, if you want length, which sucks the battery life quite quickly. It’s also best in this case to have WIFI as opposed to rinsing your data.”
However, she does say she sees the advantage in the live interaction with viewers. “We had viewers asking questions about cooking techniques, which is something we had never really spoken about before.”
Gilmour says she would use it again. “If it suits the story we are trying to share with our fans, then yeah we will!”
Boutique clothing brand RUBY has also been experimenting with the app, with assistant brand manager Isabella Lau saying the brand signed up in early May. "We're still relatively new to Periscope but we think the app offers a lot of potential for us to get even closer to our RUBY followers," she says. " ... for our first live broadcast we took our followers behind the scenes of our RUBY spring/summer 2015 lookbook shoot."
"Periscope offers us the opportunity to give our followers a voyeuristic look at what goes on behind the scenes of a fashion brand, take them on the jounrey and bring them closer to the action," she says. "Through the app we're able to provide them with an experience they wouldn't have had access to otherwise and engage with them more intimately than ever before. By the time they see the finished product on the shelves, they already have an established connection with it."
Lau says Periscope's live broadcasting ability is something RUBY is really excited about. "and we have some awesome broadcasts planned over the next few months."
Perhaps one of the least expected brands to be an early user of Periscope is insurance company AMP which used it for its AMPlify event (an innovation-focussed series of talks from staff from local and international speakers) and was encouraged by the result.
“We saw an opportunity with Amplify Festival to test Periscope for the following reasons,” AMP digital business manager Shaun Taylor says. “The content was international quality and we thought it could be of interest to an external audience, it aligned with the festival in terms of being innovative, it provided an opportunity to test the platform for future events [and] we were doing some social activity around the festival with speakers and staff, so it seemed like a natural extension of our social activity for the two-day event.”
He says the key concerns were: “The quality of the broadcast for an event from a single phone, risk of negative comments that couldn’t be monitored due to the live broadcast, [that] we wouldn’t receive any views, or low viewership due to the low take up of Periscope and the fact it was a corporate broadcast.”
Overall AMP found the Periscope broadcasts over two days received a large number of viewers of parts or all of the broadcasts he says. “and we would look to use it again where appropriate. Given our experience, in the future we would plan the use of Periscope into the staging of the event, for example, the position of the phone and the sound and lighting of the event to ensure the best quality broadcast.”
“There is an opportunity for businesses to broadcast branded content in a cost effective way,” he says. “There does seem to be a lack of New Zealand content on the platform at the moment, but what we saw is that there is a willingness for users to tune in and if the content is right for them they will watch, even if the production quality is less than ideal. As always, content is key.”
Stuff news has also been using the app, streaming press conferences live.
And today, Greenpeace used the app to show its climbers scaling their way up Parliament House to install solar panels as part of a protest against climate change pollution.
The footage is available for 24 hours here.
MediaWorks-owned radio stations have also been using the app to promote their services, like George FM and The Edge.
“Periscope is being used by George and a number of our other brands to deliver fun, live content, almost always simultaneously and as an addition to social media mix for the brands,” says MediaWorks head of brand and marketing Katie Mills.
The Edge brand manager Rachel Langford says “In an environment built on immediacy, we view Periscope as another platform to get our listeners/viewers closer to the action.”
My Social Agency content manager Anna Francis told CIO Meerkat and Periscope both provide huge opportunities for brands and marketers. “Real-time social interaction is more important than ever, and video content allows brands to engage with their audience in a human and transparent way that Tweets and Facebook posts simply can’t contend with,” she says. "Businesses may get an edge on their competitors if they start building up an engaged fan base now.”
And while the app has potential benefits for marketers, there could also be potential losses for some. For example if a person using the app was to walk into a movie premiere and live stream the whole thing to millions world wide. However, supposedly Twitter will be attempting to moderate Periscope broadcasts, cracking down on this kind of behaviour.
The Herald reported millions of people worldwide illegally used Periscope to watch the pay-per-view boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao for free. “The same app allowed users to illegally broadcast the highly anticipated fifth-season premiere of Game of Thrones as it went to air in the United States.”
Twitter confirmed it removed at least 30 live streams of the fight.
However, people planning to use the app to stream “ringside, courtside or stageside” in this country could be banned from future events and could face legal action, according to the Herald.
New Zealand Rugby also confirmed it would pay attention to the way the app was used by fans at All Blacks matches. “Social media is an important part of fans connecting with sport,” NZR general manager of commercial Nick Brown said. “We’ll be keeping an eye on it and working with our broadcast partners to ensure that their rights are being protected as much as possible.”
While this kind of moderation is all well and good, we’re not sure how effective it will be, given many of the people using this app are likely to be the generation that mastered conspicuously texting under their school desks at age twelve.
Piracy is also the least of problems with reports of women being sexually harassed or “trolled” while using the technology. However, according to Periscope’s guidelines the app prohibits “pornographic or overtly sexual content” as well as “explicitly graphic content or media that is intended to incite violent, illegal or dangerous activities", but once again it can't be easy to moderate, particularly when the app becomes more widespread.
While live streaming is certainly not new, Periscope has made it accessible to anyone with a Smartphone who can broadcast between a select few or transmit it globally. Perhaps soon YouTube stars will become Periscope stars or we might see a growth in citizen journalism. Periscope has listed some of the possibilities on its on its site:
“Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”
It’s still early days since the app’s launch, so only time will tell what uses it will be put to in the future. Watch this space.