How To Choose the Right Live Streaming Platform For You and Your Clients


Should you do a Facebook Live? Maybe an Instagram story? What about a Snapchat or Periscope? Your head might be spinning and filling with a lot of questions about which live streaming platform you should pick for you and/or your clients.

This post is about helping you pick the right platform to reach your campaign’s and/or client’s goals. We've gathered the best of the best data from around the interwebs to share the pros and cons on live streaming.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Platform for Live Streaming

Before you choose a platform for live streaming , ask yourself these key questions:

  • What audience do you want to reach (e.g., niche, age, location, etc.)?

  • How long do you want the broadcast to be?

  • Do you want the video to be live or recorded?

  • What is your most engaged social media platform?

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Platform Options for Live Streaming

So, what are some of the top live streaming platforms currently available? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook Live

  • Google+ Hangouts

  • Instagram Live Video

  • Instagram Stories

  • Periscope

  • Snapchat

  • YouTube Live

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Facebook Live Campaigns

Facebook Live is just that: live. When you press go, you are broadcasting live to your selected audience—family, friends, followers, target audience, or all of the above (it’s your choice!). For a comprehensive guide to running a successful Facebook Live campaign, click here.

Facebook Live is hosted exclusively on Facebook. You can broadcast live from your personal profile, in a private group, or, most importantly, to brands on a Facebook page. In the past, popular videos shared on Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube required a decent amount of production, including filming, editing, uploading, sharing, and promotion. Live streaming, on the other hand, gives users the opportunity to broadcast to friends anytime from anyplace where wifi is available—no editing required.

The following are pros of using Facebook Live:

  • You can drive online buzz via Facebook Live views (original and archived) + impressions, reaching your target audience in a fun and natural way.

  • Facebook Live create content that lives forever on Facebook (unless you delete it) and that you can share on other platforms and embed into blog posts.

  • Brands can generate additional content by editing and/or repurposing Facebook Live videos. This content can be shared across social media, used in blog posts, shared with other outlets, etc.

  • This platform allows a brand to engage with consumers by creating a safe environment for sharing and immediately responding to viewer’s questions, comments, concerns, etc.

  • By using this platform, brands can build and reward customer loyalty by taking consumers behind the scenes with you, giving them sneak peeks and advanced information, letting them be part of your broadcasts, and more.

  • Brands can increase coupon downloads, traffic, contest entries, and/or sales by sharing and rewarding live viewers on solid calls to action during the live broadcasts.

  • Facebook users are 76% female (out of 100% of all females) and 66% male (out of 100% of all males).

  • Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic.

  • 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business.

The following are cons of using Facebook Live:

  • The service is slightly glitchy so you need to be prepared for whatever happens during the live video segment.

  • Since the platform lives on a smartphone, the video and audio qualities are limited. The footage that you get all depends on the quality that your smartphone provides. Plus, you need to take into consideration that videos are highly compressed for delivery over the web.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on Facebook Live:

  • Benefit Cosmetics:

For Benefit, Facebook Live is just another platform where it can showcase its personality. The brand has been running a weekly live stream every Thursday called “Tipsy Tricks with Benefit!” where a guest and a host choose a beauty topic and share advice while answering viewer questions live. The streams reach upwards of 42,000 to 59,000 live viewers, with an average of 2,000 people watching them at any given time.

(Click the image to view the Facebook Live video)

  • Dunkin’ Donuts:

Dunkin’ Donuts used Facebook Live to take users inside “Dunkin’ Brands University,” where the donut chain makes its products. The video was a tour of the facility that ended with a tutorial on how to make a wedding cake out of Donuts, and was hosted by Dunkin’ chefs. The post received 4,000 likes and drove 31,680 views.

“When Live came out I thought, ‘Facebook is finally getting it right,’” Dunkin’ head of social media Melanie Cohn told Digiday. “Facebook is about scale; Periscope isn’t.”

(Click the image to view the Facebook Live video)

For more information about Facebook Live campaigns and how to run one, click here.

Google+ Hangout Campaigns

Here are the pros of Google+ Hangout Campaigns:

  • Google Hangouts are very easy to install and set up, especially if you already have a Google account.

  • Google Hangouts allow many active hosts and participants—up to 10 devices can be connected to a single meeting.

  • Google Hangouts provide a suite of productivity apps that allow users to share what’s on their screen, collaborate in Google Docs, and view presentations. It’s a great collaboration tool.

  • The platform has 3,750,000 active users (as of June 2015).

  • The percentage of people age 15-34 that use Google Plus: 28% (as of June 2015).

  • The percentage of Google+ users that are female: 26.3% (as of June 2015).

  • The percentage of Google+ users that are male: 73.7% (as of June 2015).

  • The percentage of marketers that use Google+: 40% (as of June 2015).

  • The percentage of brands that have a presence on Google+: 70% (as of June 2015).

Here are the cons of Google+ Hangout Campaigns:

  • The more apps a user adds to his/her Hangout, the slower the connection gets.

  • Because Google Hangouts provide for multiple participants, they don’t allow for single-click conferencing. A user must create a Hangout, invite participants, and then begin the conference.

  • Google+ is on the decline as other dominant, user-friendly live streaming apps and platforms make an appearance.

  • Due to the decline in popularity, your company won’t seem as trendy as other companies that are live streaming on more popular platforms.

Example of a brand that is getting it right on Google+ Hangouts:

  • National Geographic:

Explorers on all seven continents came together with public participants to celebrate exploration on this epic Google+ Hangout, 125 years to the day after the idea of the National Geographic Society was born.

If you decide to host a Google+ Hangout, then click here to learn more about how to host, promote, and maximize your Google+ Hangout.

Instagram Live Campaigns

Here are the pros of Instagram Live:

  • The creativity and high-quality visual content attracts a large audience.

  • Brands have two sources of data when looking at an Instagram Live video: views and likes.

  • The live stream allows you to combine several clips into one continuous video before posting.

  • The explore feature suggests video channels based on your interests.

  • Instagram has released a new API that can pull content from marketing platforms such as Salesforce so marketers can create, load, and schedule advertisements without assistance from Instagram.

  • 53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.

  • 25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.

  • 11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.

  • 6% of people 65+ use Instagram.

  • 29% of online females use Instagram.

  • 22% of online males use Instagram.

Here are the cons of Instagram Live:

  • Instagram recently released a new algorithm which changed how content is viewed on the app. Instead of showing images and videos in chronological order, content is now showing very much like Facebook’s feed in terms of order and preference.

  • A view is only counted if the full length of the video is played.

  • You cannot hyperlink in posts. You need to include the link in your Instagram profile in order to drive traffic to a certain website.

  • Due to the algorithm change, you need to educate your fans about how they can ensure that they don’t miss your latest posts. Either tell them in a blog post or an email newsletter that they need to start engaging with your posts and turn on post notifications to keep up with your latest Instagram content.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on Instagram Live:

  • Califia Farms:

Califia Farms, a natural beverage product company, is not only getting a lot of views for their amazing product designs, but they are also getting a lot of viewership on their Instagram feed. The company shares playful and fun videos and gifs on their Instagram feed that really drive views, likes, and comments.

(Click the image to view the Instragram Live video)

  • Staples:

The Staples brand does a really great job of engaging followers while staying true to their quirky brand personality. When you scroll through their feed, you’ll notice that people have fun responding to their Instagram updates.

(Click the image to view the Instragram Live video)

Instagram Stories Campaigns

Here are the pros of Instagram Stories:

  • The design is easy and user-friendly, making the platform more welcoming than other live streaming apps.

  • It is easier to follow users on Instagram than it is on many other apps.

  • Based on the “Social Media Brand Usage” graphic above, Instagram is the second most popular social media usage app. You will reach a greater audience using Instagram Stories since more people are already on the Instagram app.

  • Instagram Stories give users a behind-the-scenes look at the photos in your feed. The Stories show a certain kind of “realness.”

  • You can doodle on your Instagram Story which helps with using hashtags and sharing brand information.

  • There’s no need to build an audience since you already have a following on Instagram who will see your Story.

  • You can be strategic with your storytelling since you can upload and edit camera rolls on your phone from the past 24 hours.

  • You can measure the Story’s success by looking at the number of views and even seeing which followers watched it.

  • 53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.

  • 25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.

  • 11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.

  • 6% of people 65+ use Instagram.

  • 29% of online females use Instagram.

  • 22% of online males use Instagram.

Here are the cons of Instagram Stories:

  • The Stories don’t live in an account’s feed. Instead, when someone posts an Instagram Story, their account profile image will appear along the top of the app with a ring around their profile photo. People can either choose to view the video or ignore the video.

  • There are no Snapchat-like features (e.g., masks, crowns, etc.) available on Instagram Stories.

  • Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours of being shared.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on Instagram Stories:

Here’s a list of brands that are doing a great job with their Instagram Stories (no links are included since the videos are deleted after 24 hours):

  • Barkbox

  • J. Crew

  • Nike (Nike generated 800,000 views in 24 hours for an Instagram Story that it posted)

  • Travel+Leisure

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Periscope Campaigns

Here are the pros of Periscope:

  • Engagement on Periscope is instant. When viewers tap their phone screen multiple times giving you hearts, this indicates that they can see you and also that they like the content you are sharing.

  • You can encourage your viewers to tap on the phone and share and invite their friends over. This raises visibility for your live stream.

  • Periscope helps users and companies share anything and everything.

  • Users and viewers can share and engage with others that have the same interests.

  • One can use both rear and front cameras on their smartphone. To change the view, simply double tap on the screen while Periscoping.

  • The app offers new search and sharing features. Search sorts broadcasts by topic (based on hashtags) to make it easier for people to find streams about topics of interest. Users will also be able to add their own stream to a particular topic from the search results.

  • You can draw sketches on a Periscope in real-time. For more information, click here.

  • 3 out of 4 Periscope users are between 16-34 years of age.

Here are the cons of Periscope:

  • There have been reported technical issues with the app, such as glitchy broadcasts.

  • Periscope doesn’t support any monetization options like pay-per-view sales, subscriptions, or ads.

  • Periscope has limited functionality for controlling access to a given live stream. By default, everything is public.

  • Since the platform lives on a smartphone, the video and audio qualities are limited. The footage that you get all depends on the quality that your smartphone provides. Plus, you need to take into consideration that videos are highly compressed for delivery over the web.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on Periscope:

Here’s a list of brands that are doing a great job with their Periscope accounts (no links are included since the videos are deleted after 24 hours):

  • Doritos

  • Red Bull

  • Taco Bell

  • Target

Snapchat Campaigns

Here are the pros of Snapchat:

  • Snapchat makes it easy to add short and long content.

  • You can share and watch exclusive content.

  • The platform has an effective notification system which has you notified for direct messages (which you want) but not for everything else (which you don’t want).

  • Live streaming on the platform feels authentic. The platform is more about ‘what’s happening right now’ with filters to make photos more interesting and fun rather than for vanity reasons.

  • Snapchats are great options for promoting contests, showing new product sneak peaks, sharing coupons, showing behind the scenes, introducing new team members, and sharing targeted videos.

  • This platform is incredibly popular among young Americans. Facebook remains the most popular social platform among Americans 12-24 years old, with 32% saying they use Facebook most. Snapchat is second with 26%.

  • The platform is becoming more ad-friendly.

  • 70% of Snapchat users are women.

  • Millennials account for 7 out of 10 Snapchatters.

  • 60% of all smartphone users are now on Snapchat.

  • 60% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 34.

  • Snapchat users are sending approximately 400 million “snaps” a day.

  • As per research, Snapchat has 26 million U.S. users.

  • 76% of Snapchat users are online shoppers.

Here are the cons of Snapchat:

  • The biggest downside to using Snapchat for campaigns is the inablity to track followers or how many people viewed your blog/site after viewing your Snapchat live stream. Determining ROI, in other words, is really difficult.

  • Users cannot use hashtags or tag friends/businesses. Instead, you need to use a geofilter to tag a Snapchat.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on Snapchat:

Here’s a list of brands that are doing a great job with their Snapchat accounts (no links are included since the videos are deleted after 24 hours):

  • Gatorade

  • General Electric

  • GrubHub

  • The New York Times

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YouTube Live Campaigns

Here are the pros of YouTube Live:

  • YouTube has attracted a large amount of followers due to a variety of reasons—from game play to news, sporting events to tutorials. The service also allows live streamers to interact with their audience, as well as customize audio/video, monetize the show with ads, make a highlight reel, and more.

  • What sets it apart from other live streaming platforms is reliability.

  • Stream now is a quick and easy way to go live. Start sending content and we'll automatically start and stop the stream for you at the right time.

  • Events gives you greater control of the live stream. You can preview before you go live, you have backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.

  • While it attracts an even split of women and men, YouTube is still fairly male dominated. Men spend 44 percent more time on the site per month, and of 51 categories of YouTube content measured by OpenSlate, men make up the majority of viewers in 90 percent of them. Women are primarily interested in makeup and skin care; men are primarily interested in sports and gaming.

  • YouTube has a very large audience, reaching 81.2% of Internet users in the United States.

  • YouTube has a huge audience, reaching 81.2 percent of Internet users in the U.S., according to comScore data.

  • 31.8 million users aged 18 to 24 in the United States accessed YouTube at least once during the month of February 2016, accounting for 98% of internet users in that age demographic.

  • YouTube attracted 19.4 million visitors 65 and older to the site during the month of February 2016, which is 3 out of 4 internet users in this age demographic.

  • The 65+ age demographic spends just 3 hours and 54 minutes on YouTube each month.

  • 17.2 percent of viewers in the beauty and style categories are girls in the 13-17 age demographic.

  • 82% of US internet users between the ages of 14-17 use YouTube on a regular basis.

Here are the cons of YouTube Live:

  • The feature is not currently available on the mobile YouTube app. YouTube mobile live streaming will soon be available in the YouTube mobile app. You won’t need to open anything else. Simply tap the red capture button in the corner, take or select a photo to use as a thumbnail, and you can broadcast live to your fans and chat in near real-time.

Examples of brands that are getting it right on YouTube Live:

  • SkyNews:

The news outlet has a live feed that is constantly steaming. Here's the live stream:

  • WildEarth:

Viewers can join a live African Safari. Twice a day, their expert guides invite viewer to come along and drive through the African bush in search of the Big Five, as well as smaller animals.

Ready to Join the Live Streaming Trend?

As you venture into the world of live streaming, one thing is certain: live streaming is only beneficial when you have a viewers watch the live stream. Because live streaming happens, well, live, it can be difficult getting people to attend the live event.

For that reason, live streaming planning pre, during, and post event can make or break the whole event. Before you decide to go live, plan on how you will market and advertise the event to get more people to watch.

Mom It Forward Media has already partnered with brands on sponsored streaming segments and have enjoyed tremendous results. We can bring your products and services to life via live streaming with the help of bloggers.

Packages vary based on the length of the live streaming video. Pricing is based on the type of live streaming event, whether products will be provided or if the influencer needs to purchase them, the level of influencer(s), his/her familiarity with live streaming and on-air expertise, and whether any post-production work is requested: video downloading, editing, sharing on other platforms, promotional posts from other network members to share the original live streamed event, etc.

It’s time to get ready to go live! Reach out to info@momitforward.com to learn more about ways your brand can benefit from a live streaming campaign.

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