9th September 2015

Is Periscope the future of marketing? Here’s what happened when we tested it out.

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If you haven’t heard of Periscope already, it’s the new Twitter owned app that allows users to instantly live stream from their iPhone, letting you “explore the world through someone else’s eyes” as Periscope puts it. They say their aim for the app was to build something that was as close to teleportation as they could get. Similar to Snapchat, the app offers one time viewing of the streamed videos, before disappearing forever. Also like snapchat, you do have the option to save your video for users to view 24 hours after it’s first posted (but then it’s not live which defeats the object really!).

Currently at number 110 in the app store (quite an achievement for a new app which only launched 2 weeks ago), periscope has been causing excitement among technology lovers all over the globe. We decided to test it out for ourselves, so here’s 10 of the best places an hour on periscope took us too:

1. A boat trip in Norway

@AEdiassen

This certainly beat looking out of the office window at the scaffolding! A beautiful Norway view at the tap of a finger – wow.

2. A TV Studio In Memphis

@Toddon3_WREG

On set with Memphis WREG TV – an interesting insight into what the news is like from another part of the world.

3. Downtown in Lisbon

@Gasbong

Exploring downtown Lisbon on a scooter – talk about multitasking!

4. The rooftops of Catania & Mount Etna

@fatmesa

Another stunning view, this time from the rooftops of Catania. I’d be a little concerned living near an active volcano though (last erupted in June 2014!). Maybe periscope users will catch her next eruption?

5A walk in the park on east river NYC

Nick took us on a walk in the east river park, pointing out famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building and where the Twin Towers used to be. Periscope = your virtual tour guide.

6Paris Latin Quarter Walk

@euromaestro

We walked the Latin Quarter of Paris, listened to street performers and were shown the best place to get a crepe!

7. Sunny beach in Palermo

@JimmaGR

Exploring a beautiful beach in Palermo. We weren’t jealous at all!

8. The Pantheon In Rome

@aranciatina

A sunny day at the busy Pantheon in Rome. We even got to stop to chat with a few tourists (who not surprisingly were a little confused as to why they were being filmed!)

9. Ed Miliband answering questions live in London

@SkyNewsEditor

Periscope might even help you decide who to (or not to) vote for! Here’s Ed Miliband answering questions in London.

10. Sunset in Koh Kood Thailand

@Real_Black_Cat

And last on our list is this beautiful sunset in Koh Kood, Thailand (Population of just 2000!).

The app allows you to post comments on the live streams, which is visible to anyone else watching the same stream, and the person streaming it. It was pretty cool to have a complete stranger walking the streets of Paris to say “Hi Leeds how are you!”. You can also tap the video to give it a heart – these hearts act similar to Twitter likes, and determine how popular a video and therefore a Periscope user is.

Why are people asking about a fridge?

If you spend a bit of time on Periscope it won’t be long before you come across a comment from another user asking to see a fridge. For some reason it seems to be one of the most popular comments for users of the new app – with some going as far as labelling videos  #Showusyourfridge or #fridgeview to cater for the masses of fridge obsessed Periscope dwellers out there. So if you’re live streaming and someone asks to see your fridge, don’t worry, it’s probably not something more sinister they’re after, they genuinely want to see what butter brand you use.

What would make it better?

Here’s a couple of ways we think the app could be altered for an improved experience.

Introduce a search function:
There’s currently no search function available via the app, to find new streams you just swipe down to refresh the feed, but have no control over what will appear on this list. We think a search function would be really useful. For example lets say you were heading to Munich for a weekend away and wanted to find out where the best place for beer was – if you could search for streams in Munich and connect with a local, you could get some brilliant advice from someone who you know’s had first hand experience. Like an interactive version of TripAdvisor.

You can however use Twitter to search for live streams, however not everyone posts their streams to their Twitter feed, and it’s a little convoluted to have to go out of the app and into Twitter in order to search for what you want. It would definitely make it more user friendly if the search functionality was within the Periscope app itself.

Introduce an Ignore function:
Like with all social media sharing platforms, there’s always going to be someone who shares something you really don’t want to see. You might think you’re clicking to view “beautiful sunrise in SoCal” but you could actually end up viewing something unexpected rising across your screen instead. Thankfully though, Periscope is linked up to your Twitter account, which reduces the amount of pervert posts, since you’re not posting so anonymously as with other live stream apps such as Chatroulette.

It’s not all about wanting to block out the perverts though, there are equally as annoying streams you have to wade through in order to find the ones worth watching, such as those posting “Give me 100 hearts and I’ll show you everything!” or “Me and Jack playing Call of Duty” (because who wants to watch someone watching a screen?!).

To combat this and make the feed a little more personal, we would suggest an ignore function where you could block streams with certain words in them, depending on what you like (or don’t!). Similar to how Google has it’s negative keywords for PPC ads. For example my list would look something like “Naked, Hearts, COD, AMA” (short for ask me anything – you’ll see a lot of streams with this in the title. Mainly from people who you wouldn’t want to ask anything!).

The future of marketing?

With 232 million twitter users, many brands will be eager to take advantage of this new social sharing platform. There are many opportunities for real time live video marketing and we think one of the best ways brands could take advantage of the app would be to give customers a behind the scenes look at things. Maybe it’s a footballer in the dressing room before a big game, or backstage with a brand at London Fashion Week. They could also use the app to take part in tending events, similar to how many brands do so on Twitter already.

Another option for marketers is of course paid ads that would appear on the live feed, should Periscope decide to introduce them. Hopefully if they do they won’t be quite as pricey as Snapchat ads though, with sources quoting a massive $750,000 a day for an ad, meaning only the bigger brands have been able to utilise them.

Our final verdict

Overall we think Periscope is a fun and interesting app, allowing us to connect instantly with the rest of the world easily from our phone, in way we haven’t been able to before. And whilst it is a little buggy (expect lots of screen freezes!) and could be improved in certain ways, there’s no doubt it has the potential to be an app which could rival the likes of social platforms such as Instagram.

What do you think? Is it the future of social media or have we reached peak overshare?