The Periscope app is currently the most popular live streaming video app on the market. While it’s being used by all sorts of people just for fun and entertainment, brands have been adopting the platform from day one, and many of them are seeing great results.
Just last month, I published an article on the HubSpot Marketing Blog discussing some of the innovative ways early-adopter brands have been using Periscope. The article pointed out the powerful effect of immediacy and intimacy the app creates, and how these brands have successfully used it to create and strengthen relationships with customers and prospects. The final paragraphs noted a glaring omission on the part of Periscope’s developers, however: quality analytics. As an inbound marketing agency, we don’t view this as a small thing. If we have no way of effectively tracking the results for a given tactic, we’re very leery of investing time, effort and money into experimenting with it. And suggesting it to our clients is simply not going to happen.
What stats are available for Periscope?
Currently, the app automatically streams a broadcast and allows followers to “heart” the program as many times as they want, and allows followers to send text chats to the broadcaster as it proceeds.
When the broadcast concludes, the broadcaster is presented with a box that displays “stats” like this:
What’s wrong with that?
Rather than repeat it all, I’ll refer you to Thomas Baekdal’s excellent blog post from earlier this year where he discussed the dubious value of Periscope's analytics. Basically, the way they’re currently set up, the numbers tell you next to nothing.
What stats should be available for Periscope?
Since Periscope is an app designed to instantly bring together a widespread audience to experience something that purports to be of value, there are a few basic metrics that would make more sense than sheer volume of viewers:
- Source: Where are your viewers coming from? While Twitter is the default source (since they own Periscope), you can and should be sending the link anywhere and everywhere across your social ecosystem. Knowing where your followers are most interesting in your Scopes matters a lot.
- Engagement: While there’s a cool vanity value in letting people like your broadcast over and over again, it’s also potentially very misleading. After all, if you have 50 viewers, and 1000 hearts, it’s easy to convince yourself that everyone loved what you did. But if only three viewers mashed the heck out of the heart button to get you those 1000 hearts, a very different story emerges.
- Shares: While you could theoretically bounce around to every other social site that provides this level of analytics to gather this data, it would be incredibly helpful if Periscope could provide insight into who shared your broadcast and replay links, where they did it, and what kind of traction their efforts yielded.
- Repeat viewers: Again, you could manually do this if you have a few hours to invest after every broadcast. But it seems to make a lot more sense for Periscope to let you know when someone returns for another broadcast, how engaged individual viewers have been over time, and whether or not you’re retaining viewers over time.
There are more suggestions I could make, but you get the idea.
The bottom line?
Periscope is an awesome app: well-designed, easy to use, fun to get involved with, and it has tons of potential for inbound marketers. I desperately hope that either the Periscope team themselves or a third party introduces more actionable analytics to the app soon so that, as an inbound marketing agency, we can comfortably start suggesting its use to our clients where it fits the bill.
(Note: although details are very slim at this point, we have been able to locate two companies currently working on Periscope analytics solutions – ScopeInsights and BirdSong Analytics. We’re keeping our eyes peeled.)