Fight for followers: Meerkat vs. Periscope

I’ve recently been asking people if they’re using Meerkat or Periscope. “What’s that?” is generally the response, and it’s no wonder, as less than 1 percent of iOS users are using these new video apps, according to data from 7Park. That is in comparison to Snapchat’s reach of nearly 30 percent. “Reach,” in this case, is the percentage defined as active monthly users of the app versus total iOS users in the U.S.

You’re asking, “What do they do, exactly?” Meerkat and Periscope are live streaming video applications. Users can broadcast live video from their iOS devices (Android coming soon) to their followers and the general public. Followers get pop-up notifications that their friends, brands, celebrities, etc. are “now streaming,” and they can easily tune in to see what’s being broadcasted.

For example: Ellen Degeneres (or a staff member) will stream live from the studio set shortly before they begin recording the episode, giving followers and fans a “behind-the-scenes” look.

Are they the next big thing? Will they rival Snapchat? That’s to be determined, but there are huge investments being made into each of them. Earlier this year, Twitter acquired Periscope for just less than $100 million. Its independent competitor, Meerkat, is valued at $52 million after recent investments.

Both apps are a fantastic way to connect brands, celebrities, media or news sources and individuals like you and me to other interested parties.

They can create instantaneous inside looks that normally aren’t available to public eyes. The focus is on engagement, as followers can comment, like and share the streams. Those who are streaming the video get comments in real-time and can answer questions and request info from followers.

The future certainly looks bright for live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope. While they battle it out for the top spot, familiarize yourself with both.

-Joshua Behrend is a social media strategist at Milwaukee-based sosh.

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