Periscope Versus Meerkat

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You may recall I wrote about Meerkat, the new livestreaming app for Twitter, just last week. In the weeks since its launch, it’s taken the internet by storm, with celebrities, news outlets and digital marketing gurus “meerkasting” everything from concerts, to events to breaking news stories.

I have rarely seen an app get so much attention so quickly…until, that is, the launch of Periscope, Twitter’s own native livecasting app.

Periscope has been in the works for the past year, and its release last Thursday – just when Meerkat was really staring to make waves – was likely no coincidence.

So what are these apps all about? The short answer is that both Periscope and Meerkat allow you to livestream videos and share a link with your Twitter followers, letting you connect with them face-to-face in real time. Both apps allow viewers to comment on the stream, and to share links to the livecasts they are watching.

Periscope interface versus Meerkat interface

But despite their similarities (or more so because of their similarities), it is only a matter of time before one app tanks, and the other dominates. After all, who needs TWO livestreaming apps?

If you are wondering which app is right for you, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Both apps are currently only available for iOS, however both have said they will be releasing an Android version soon. Some experts predict the app that manages to do this first will dominate.
  • Periscope allows viewers to access livecasts for 24 hours, while Meerkat only allows video creators to save their videos to their phone (and Periscope doesn’t yet allow this). On Meerkat, once the video is over, it is really
  • Some users think Meerkat’s design is too cluttered, while Periscope’s is simpler and cleaner.
  • Meerkat displays a steady stream of viewers’ faces right alongside the video, while Periscope users must access a separate menu to see who is watching their livecast.
  • Periscope users can leave hearts or comments on videos they like – and these are NOT tweeted in users’ feeds. Responses to Meerkasts appear in users’ feeds, potentially cluttering up people’s Twitter accounts.
  • Meerkat users will see a mostly blank screen if no one they know is livecasting; Periscope users, however, will see a list of videos that are currently being broadcast by all sorts of users across Twitter (not just those they are following), giving them constant access to breaking news and live events.
  • Periscope users can post where they are livecasting from using GPS – a feature that is particularly useful for anyone livecasting breaking news.
  • Periscope users can find out which of their followers are on the platform by accessing the “People” tab on the app. Meerkast users need to just happen to catch a follower meerkasting in order to watch.
  • Both apps provide push notifications so you know exactly when a livecast is starting.
  • While Meerkat only lets you follow people who are already using the app, Periscope lets you subscribe in advance; so if your followers do start using the app, you will be automatically subscribed.
  • Periscope gives you access to important data following your livecast, including retention, viewers, time watched and duration. This gives you insight into how effective and engaging your livecast actually was.

So…Which is Better? Meerkat or Periscope?

Most tech and social media experts agree that there is only room for one winner in the livecasting game. No one is going to consistently use both apps, so which one is more likely to succeed?

The clear answer seems to be Periscope. Given that it’s owned and operated by Twitter, integration will always be seamless and uninterrupted. In an interview with Adweek, Matt Wurst, VP and Social Media Manager at 360i wrote, “Livestreaming as a content experience is still in its infancy. That said, Periscope is more developed and further along in terms of available features and usability than Meerkat. It is far too early to tell if Meerkat will survive, but Periscope has a well-established network of content creators, curators and consumers thanks to Twitter.”

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