The Somewhat Short Journey of Social Live Streaming

Instagram finally launched Live Stories earlier this week after letting us know not too long ago the feature was packaged and ready to be shipped out. Many big accounts (like Gary Vee & Mashable) went ahead and hosted their first live stream sessions already, while other users (like little ol’ me) are still waiting for the feature to roll my way.

I must say it’s been a very interesting journey for live streaming and even video chatting apps like Skype, ooVoo and Hangouts. It seems like every six months or so a new app took over only for another to swoop in and replace it, which is normal. Let’s take a look at the paths of the most popular products for live streaming events.

YouTube

I honestly probably missed all live streaming that happened before YouTube. Once I realized it was a thing, I was taking full advantage of it for work events. During SXSW 2015, my company had a live stream for our massive “startup crawl” party and we also used it during events for our #MobilityATX campaign. It never really held my attention in my opinion as I was quick to move on to the next app.

Yup that’s me preparing to live tweet!

Meerkat

Haven’t heard that name in a while right? Meerkat was the darling of SXSW 2015 as everyone was live streaming their sessions during Interactive and even celebs started catching on. It was so easy to show your Facebook friends and Twitter followers exactly what you were doing at that time and folks were mesmerized. I feel like it really kicked things off and started this intense live stream race.

Shortly after SXSW, Twitter rejected Meerkat’s access since Twitter had acquired Periscope and it was set to launch. Even though Meerkat launched Cameo, Twitter had already started convincing celebs to move to Periscope so it was pretty much all downhill from there. Meerkat officially shut down in September of last year.

Periscope / Twitter

Right after Twitter blocked Meerkat’s access in Spring 2015 almost everyone headed right over to Periscope. It was a simple app that connected directly with Twitter and had everything you wanted but nothing you didn’t. It was easy to see when others were live and eventually they had videos playing directly in Twitter with no additional buttons to press.

However, I don’t even think of Periscope when it comes to live streaming at this point which is interesting because it was just announced today that users don’t need the Periscope app to live stream on Twitter anymore.

Snapchat

Some people already think Snapchat is a live streaming platform with as much as they post, but the platform has only flirted with live stories. They had a Live Story for The Oscars which I remember watching for a bit earlier this year since I do not have cable. They’ve been quiet about Live Streaming for a while now thanks to their IPO plans and Spectacles (my latest obsession), but I can certainly see it making a comeback soon especially now that Group chatting is available.

Facebook

Back in April, Facebook decided it was time to flip the switch on Facebook Live and I honestly think it has been one of their best decisions since acquiring Instagram. Facebook already has a massive audience and adding live streaming to the mix feels like bringing everyone back “home” in my opinion.

Facebook already places videos at the top of your news feed and now Facebook Live videos are showing up before native videos. At moovel US, we’ve tested out a few Facebook Live streams and it has certainly helped with our Page engagement.

Facebook also went ahead and announced the launch of Live 360-degree video for early 2017 this week. We can all anticipate even more new features with that when it officially drops.

Instagram

And now we’re here. Instagram made sure to close out 2016 with a bang. It’s really no surprise that Instagram added Live video to its Stories feature since Facebook has seen a lot of success with it. However, I was surprised to see that Live Stories disappear after the stream is closed instead of after 24 hours like Stories. If you miss the video, it’s gone forever.

Image via TechCrunch

This is obviously a ploy to keep people in Instagram longer and/or to set alerts for their favorite accounts. If you don’t do one of those two things, it will be hard to catch an Instagram Live Story unless you randomly stumble upon it.

Big brands should really take advantage of this especially for news and contests/giveaways. For example, imagine if Herschel Supply Company wanted to make an announcement about a new product. They could tweet out that they’re having an announcement paired with a secret giveaway and the only way to get the new item is to watch their Instagram Live story at a certain time. They could then go Live for a quick 60 seconds, announce the new product, mention a promo code and end the broadcast. Users could then flock to their website, enter the code and get the free item. The customer is happy with the free item and then Herschel has a good spike in traffic for that day.

They could even take it a step further. If Herschel asks users for their Instagram name at checkout, they could then DM them an exclusive code for a discounted item a few weeks or so later.

It’ll be interesting to see how people use Instagram Live over the holidays, if they even do. A very tiny portion of my timeline thinks they’ll just be viewers this time around.

What do you think about all of these live stream developments? Let me know in the comments. Also remember if you like this post please tap the 💚 below so other people have a higher chance of finding and reading it!

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