Streaming Live, With Love, From Your Phone


Streaming Live, With Love, From Your Phone

Could Periscoping and Meerkating be right for you + your business? Read on for the facts of the matter

Visible streaming "hearts" are the live equivalent to a Facebook "Like"

attention spans are short—and getting shorter.

A 2015 Microsoft study found they’ve dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. That’s less than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish.

That being said, it seems that just about everybody is jumping into the mobile-friendly live streaming video pond, where the info bites are quick—and live. In fact, Twitter-owned Periscope was the No. 1 downloaded app in the Apple App Store in 2015, with more than 10 million users today. And, at press time, Instagram—the queen of short and sweet—had just increased its video capabilities from 15 seconds to a full minute.

Curious how live streaming video may benefit your business?

Check out our roundup of the ins and outs to see if it’s right for you.


How does live streaming video work? All you need is your cell and an app like Periscope or Meerkat. These allow you to film anything, anywhere in real time and, depending on how you save it, upload it to your company’s YouTube page or other location.

You just point and shoot. For how long? The rule of thumb is to keep live streaming vids at five minutes or less.

According to the ReelSEO Video Marketing Survey, the longer the video, the lower its retention rate. The survey found that for videos of less than a minute, eight out of 10 viewers made it through the first 30 seconds.


Today, companies of all shapes and sizes—from Red Bull to Doritos—are streaming live via apps like Periscope to help market their business and their brand. Maybe it’s at an event, trade show, celebrity sighting or interview, or simply someone sporting or using their products.

The point is that you invite viewers in to share an in-the-moment experience. Talk about an intimate relationship.

You can use streaming video to boost public relations initiatives, increase engagement, introduce anything from a product to a white paper, offer business tips, or feature customer success stories. Whatever you do, however, be sure to close with a call to action.


Who are some of the main players? The two majors are Periscope and Meerkat. In the first six months after launch, the two apps were used to create more than 1.5 million live streams.

One example: Nestlé’s Drumstick Periscope channel saw more than 5,000 views (and 50,000 “hearts”) in just 12 hours.

Catch EB Streaming Live on Periscope: @eyecarebusinessmag

Periscope is the most popular live streaming app. It’s also free from iTunes. One of its features is integration with Twitter. The streams can also be watched for 24 hours and, better yet, can be saved to a Periscope/YouTube channel. It also offers feedback in terms of viewers, comments, etc.

Meerkat has solid benefits, also. You can schedule a stream a day in advance, and it has a “cameo” option to allow multiple users to stream, each for a set time.

Older formats like Google Hangouts On-Air, UStream, and Spreecast have plusses, as well. According to Jim Dougherty at, “Some of the older live video platforms may be more appropriate for communication professionals and marketers than the most buzzed-about apps.”

Facebook is even getting into the live stream game, with a feature that allows users to stream live into their newsfeed. The video remains on the user’s Facebook page, letting visitors replay later. Facebook recommends writing a compelling description before going live to capture the attention of other users.

Some of the newer apps include:

Berne, launched in mid-2015, allows users to touch their mobile to their chest in order to record and share. The clips can’t be edited, however, and disappear from news feeds after the first viewing.

Stringwire, from NBC News Digital, is designed to report news and can be stored indefinitely. For better or worse, it may end up on an NBC broadcast.

Two Android-only apps are Broadcast Me, which runs through a multimedia server, and BigVEncoder, a professional-grade app supporting services like YouTube Live and Flash Media Server.


The folks at Meerkat offer these suggestions:

    1. Use a tripod, because holding a smart phone still is tough.

    2. Check your battery power, as streaming video hogs energy. If you are down to 30% battery power, don’t even think about streaming.

    3. Check Wi-Fi connections before you begin.

    4. Frame your video, and focus on the top one-third of the screen. That is especially important with Meerkat.

    5. Test for background noise before you begin.


With all these options, how do you pick what’s best for you? Periscope offers better analytics than the other apps, but that's only one thing to consider. As econsultancy puts it, “Pit the apps against each other and against other data you have. How are the apps performing generally? If you’re testing two, which one has more followers? More dialogue and likes? Are the apps achieving desired outcomes, such as downloads or regular viewing? Refine efforts according to the data, then monitor and refine again.”

—Stephanie K. De Long


Visit our website to get seven hands-on tips for making your online streaming as effective and engaging as possible.