Breaking Down The Top Three Live Platforms

By @TheMarkDalton

Live video is booming right now, there is an abundance of content being created across live platforms. Just like any other form of content, live needs to bring value to people if you want to build your business or your brand.

Really, you ideally want to master just video content before jumping two feet into live streaming. Live is hard, I would advise anyone who is thinking about using live streaming to start mastering Snapchat, Instagram stories or YouTube first.

You really want to be nailing the basics of just video before you start going into broadcasting to people online. If you haven’t yet nailed down recorded video then chances are most of you won’t have a big flying start in live streaming.

When it comes to going live there are three platforms up for consideration, the hardcore among you will create on all three but for many people it will be more about deciding what platform is best for them (and rightly so, you don’t need to be everywhere).

1) Facebook Live

Let’s start with the big player here, the biggest social network on the planet – Facebook. Facebook Live has been getting heat over the past number of months, various live streams of a graphic and violent nature such as a young disabled man being tortured in Chicago have been broadcast to millions.

While we recognise that it is hard to moderate live content, the issue has been more the fact that Facebook seem to be so slow to respond to taking this kind of content down. The video mentioned above was allowed to stream for 30 minutes and then took longer to actually remove it from Facebook.

This has been one of several instances Facebook have encountered since launching the live platform, however it is so readily available to so many people around the world. The opportunity for exposure is there if you hit that sweet spot.

On top of that Facebook is rolling out the ability for Pages to stream from the desktop so if you are a brand running a Page on Facebook you will be able to create higher quality live streams from a desktop device. Up to this point live streaming has been limited to smartphones.

Biggest social platform, biggest level of exposure if you get it right but taking flak for some of the graphic content they are slow to respond to.

2) Periscope

Periscope has recently been integrated into Twitter which makes sense as Twitter owns the live streaming app. Periscope was the first big player on the live streaming scene. They came in fast after Meerkat gathered steam and blew them out of the water.

A popular option for streamers, especially now that streams appear embedded in tweets on Twitter. Periscope clearly sees how important it is to keep creators around and recently launched a tiered level of benefits for their high profile creators on the app. This is a smart move from Periscope to try and make sure that creators stick around and don’t jump ship to another platform.

It is now easier than ever to go live on Periscope if you have Twitter, simply pressing the button while composing a new tweet swings you over to the new broadcast stream and you are away.

Periscope is also making it easier for high quality content on the platform as they are now allowing external devices such as high quality cameras and audio equipment to connect through the app which means you could potentially get TV quality streams (based on your connection of course).

Probably one of the more popular options at the moment, not limited by Twitter’s stunted growth as you don’t need a Twitter account to use Periscope. Will be interesting to see if the emergence of other live platforms can halt their success so far.

3) Instagram Live

The latest live platform which is gaining popularity at the moment is Instagram Live. The feature was rolled out globally just yesterday (24/01/17) and is baked right into the stories mode on the app.

Open up stories and you will see it on the left, head over and tap “Start Live Video” and you are away. Instagram will notify some of you followers so they can join in.

Instagram has an interesting swing on live video though, after you have finished the live stream and you end it then it can’t be watched afterwards. So you either get viewers who tune in right then and there, live, as is intended. Or they don’t see the live feed at all.

At first I was thrown off by this because I can see how brands and businesses wouldn’t like it. Ideally you want to repackage and repurpose content like this, however as I thought about it I thought – this is actually kind of neat.

This is live content being consumed the way it was intended to be consumed – live. You can pre-record and repackage videos on YouTube but Instagram is truly live.

This is also a great platform to use if you want to start live streaming but may be nervous going in to it. You know that the stream is not going to be openly visible to anyone after you finish up, it is only available to those who tune in as it takes place.

Which is the right platform for you?

Honestly, there are benefits to each one and which platform you want to use is up to you. There is no platform leading the way as such, they are all battling for user attention. Personally I like the look of Instagram live the best but what route you take will give you good results as long as the live content is good and appealing to viewers.