Is live-streaming app Meerkat edging out Twitter-owned Periscope for views? An informal test being run throughout this summer by brand advertiser Bolthouse Farms is generating some interesting early results, Adweek reports.
Screenshots of Meerkat and Periscope user interfaces on iPhone, showing Meerkat's scheduling feature.
Rather than purchasing paid ads or a sponsored stream, Bolthouse is experimenting with both apps. The company is in the midst of a 10-week series of live streams featuring popular Los Angeles bartenders, running through July 30. As each bartender demonstrates how to make a healthy cocktail using Bolthouse Farm products, the company films the demo with Meerkat and Periscope apps simultaneously.
Bolthouse marketing execs studying how each stream performs have noticed some interesting differences, both in the amount of views on each app as well as how the live stream is promoted.
Pamela Naumes, senior director of brand engagement for Bolthouse, told Adweek, "I was convinced going into this that Periscope was going to be leader, not just from a follower perspective, but from a viewer and engagement perspective--that's not happening at all."
For one thing, Meerkat's audience for the live streams grew over the first three weeks of the experiment, from 25 to 205. Periscope's viewership, by contrast, has dropped from 119 to 62.
A total of 650 people have watched the Bolthouse Farms live streams so far, Adweek reports. Those aren't very big numbers compared to other social media apps with video like Facebook, but keep in mind that both Periscope and Meerkat have been live for a little over three months now.
Why is Meerkat showing the uptick? While certainly the emerging genre needs a lot more study, Bolthouse's Naumes attributes its success to three key differentiators: Meerkat creators can schedule a livestream 24 hours before it starts; the "ping" reminder sent to viewers' smartphones is limited to just the scheduled event, so they're not overwhelmed by pings the way the Twitter subs might be; and users are engaging much more with the livestreams on Meerkat.
Even though Meerkat is no longer tied directly into Twitter's API, users still sign in using their Twitter handles, and their comments on Meerkat live streams are tweeted out to their followers.
When FierceOnlineVideo considered Meerkat for its first annual Fierce 15 award, a chief worry by the editor panel was whether the app would still be around in a few months. But if brand marketers see similar viewership and engagement as Bolthouse Farms in their own live-streaming campaigns, Periscope may find itself mired in serious competition--playing out live and in color. That could be a worrisome development for Twitter, which has put its video capability front and center in a bid to attract advertisers and revenue.
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