Share this:
March 21, 2016

Is Facebook Live the Periscope Killer?

By Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network

I've been a big proponent of Periscope, and we've used it extensively at Mayo Clinic, with 76 broadcasts since we launched our channel in June, including our #ScopeScope live colonoscopy program.

Last week we started exploring Facebook Live, and I'm convinced many more organizations will be adopting Facebook as their preferred platform for live video streaming.

Match DayOur Mayo Medical School students had heard about our work with Periscope, and suggested that Match Day would be a great event to stream live. We agreed, as many family members of our students may not be able to be there in person. It would let them participate virtually.

Besides, Match Day is a joyous event each year, representing both the culmination of medical school and the gateway to the next several years of training.

We had experimented with Facebook Live last week for our #AskTheMayoMom Q&A program, so we thought this would be a great test of Periscope vs. Facebook Live.

It wasn't much of a contest.

We got a nice audience on Periscope, with 567 people joining some or all of the live broadcast, and 160 more watching the replay.

Just think about that for a minute: Because of Periscope, more than 500 people who otherwise would not have been able to attend were able to view and interact with a live stream of the event.

That's a significant accomplishment, and a year ago it was practically impossible.

But Facebook Live blew those numbers away.

We consistently had 800-900 viewers on Facebook Live at any moment. Our cumulative views during the 30-minute broadcast approached 10,000.

As of this evening, the total views of our Facebook Live video have surpassed 22,000. We've had 647 reactions ranging from like to love, and 45 comments along with 52 shares. Facebook tells us the post has been shown in 105,000 users' newsfeeds.

Even considering Facebook's low threshold for what constitutes a video view (3 seconds or more), the reach for Facebook Live is at least an order of magnitude greater than Periscope. Watching the live view counts, we consistently had at least 10 times as many viewers on Facebook as on Periscope.

So why would we continue to use Periscope?

Two reasons:

  1. While both apps allow you to save the video file to the camera roll of your phone, only Periscope saves horizontal video in horizontal format. If you want to have high quality horizontal video you can edit and upload to YouTube, Periscope's file is much better. Even if you broadcast on Facebook Live while holding your phone horizontally, the video saved to your camera roll is vertical. That means you'll have black bars on either side when you import into a video editing program.
  2. The audiences are different. While the Facebook audience is larger, your key stakeholders may be on Twitter and/or Periscope. If you have the ability to broadcast on both platforms, you'll increase your reach (and maybe reach more of a thought leader audience) by using Periscope.

If you can boost your audience by 10 percent by using Periscope, you may find it worthwhile. That, along with the superior camera roll file for later editing, may make it worth simulcasting on both platforms. It takes another person and another device, but if the event is special (or if the time of your subject expert is particularly valuable) you may find the increased reach worthwhile.

What are the advantages of Facebook Live over Periscope?

This is a longer list:

  1. Enduring Availability. Periscope video is only available for 24 hours. So the only way to see our Match Day Periscope is on The Facebook video, by contrast, is still available and adding views.
  2. Simplicity. The Facebook video shows up within your fans' newsfeeds, however they use Facebook. They don't need a separate app to interact. On Periscope, users can watch via Twitter or on the desktop, but they can't interact without the Periscope app.
  3. Unlimited Interaction. Only the first 150-200 Periscope viewers can comment or give hearts. The rest are in watch-only mode. On Facebook, anyone can comment, react or share.
  4. Durability of Comments. Periscope comments are vaporous, appearing briefly and then fading from sight. On Facebook Live the comments remain stable. You don't need to worry about them rushing by before you can respond. This is especially helpful for an Ask the Expert Q&A session.
  5. Multiple Broadcasters. To use the Periscope app on your smartphone, you need to have the underlying Twitter account authorized. That's a security risk if you want to have multiple devices able to broadcast. You need to have each device authorized with your organization's Twitter account. With Facebook Live, by contrast, anyone with Administrator or Editor access can use the Pages Manager mobile app to broadcast.
  6. Safety. More than once (twice, in fact) I have done a broadcast from my personal Periscope account when I meant for it to come from Mayo Clinic's. That's less of a concern than the reverse situation, and it's been about a 3 percent error rate, but it's still less than ideal. With Facebook Live we use the Pages app to broadcast from Mayo Clinic's page, and so it's much less likely we'll broadcast from a personal account when we mean for it to come from the organizational page.

Will the Facebook Live Advantages Remain Stable?

Who knows? We've all seen the declining organic reach of Facebook posts. Right now Facebook is promoting live video, so the results are great.

In the future, Facebook may depress video reach from Pages. But for now, it's time to take advantage of the opportunity.

So what should we do?

At Mayo Clinic, we're going to keep experimenting with both Facebook Live and Periscope. Sometimes we will simulcast on both. But in cases in which we can only do one, we'll increasingly choose Facebook Live.

Have you experimented with Facebook Live or Periscope? What results have you gotten?

Tags: Facebook, Facebook Live, Periscope, Video, Video streaming

Liked by Stephanie McCormick, Bob West, Vicki Bencken, MakalaArce


Megan Rowe

Posts: 244
Joined: Nov 07, 2012
Posted by @MeganRowe, Mar 22, 2016

We can’t use Facebook Live 🙁 Our page is categorized as a local business, not a brand. We have a gray verification badge, but apparently we need a blue (brand) one to use FB Live. In order to get this, we not only would have to re-classify ourselves as a brand, we’d also have to submit “articles of incorporation” to prove we’re legit. I suspect tracking down such proof could become a full-time job.

Are other pages experiencing this issue? Have you found a workaround? Does it really matter how you categorize your page?

Liked by David Grayson

Posted by @LeeAase, Mar 24, 2016

Hi Megan – This seems odd to me. I have access to several different pages as an Admin, and all of them give me the option to broadcast Facebook Live. They range from a local business to a personal brand page for me as an author to a basketball team booster club. Maybe I will do a step-by-step post with screen shots. I’ll see about that tonight.

Justin Willett

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 13, 2015
Posted by @willettjf, Mar 24, 2016

I have not used Facebook Live, but all of our pages, some unverified and some gray verified, have the Live option in the Publish box. All are categorized as organizations.

Megan Rowe

Posts: 244
Joined: Nov 07, 2012
Posted by @MeganRowe, Mar 25, 2016

I wonder if it’s something Facebook is rolling out gradually? The funny thing is, within the past week, I’ve gotten the ability to use Live from my personal account. But even after updating my FB app, it’s still not an option from our page.

Posted by @LeeAase, Mar 25, 2016

Are you trying to do it from the Facebook app for mobile? To do it from a Page you need to use the Facebook Pages manager app

Megan Rowe

Posts: 244
Joined: Nov 07, 2012
Posted by @MeganRowe, Mar 25, 2016

I have the manager app, although I didn’t know you could only do live video from that. If I go to post, there’s a video option that takes me to my camera roll and then lets me record video…but I assumed that was to record video and then upload the completed video, not live video. I’m a little scared to test and see if it does go live, although I’m sure our Facebook fans would just love to see my beautiful cube.

Dan Hinmon, MCSMN Director

Posts: 2466
Joined: Apr 13, 2011
Posted by @DanHinmon, Mar 25, 2016

I’d love to see your beautiful cube, @MeganRowe – the source of many of your very creative ideas!

Liked by Megan Rowe

Posted by @LeeAase, Mar 25, 2016

Here’s the post I just did with 4 Steps on Broadcasting from your Page. Will be interested to see if it works for you, Megan!

Liked by Vicki Bencken

Posted by @TonyHart87, Mar 29, 2016

The big plus to Periscope to me was being able to see the comments as you are recording. On Facebook Live, can you see the comments as they come in (on the device you are recording from)?

Posted by @LeeAase, Mar 29, 2016

Yes…and even better is the fact that the comments don’t disappear as they do on Periscope.

Liked by Vicki Bencken

Posted by @TonyHart87, Mar 29, 2016

Glad to hear it. I’ll have to try this out when I get some time later this week.

Vicki Bencken

Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 06, 2012
Posted by @VickiBencken, Mar 29, 2016

@MeganRowe you also may want to make sure that your app is the most current version. We found that some of our staff did not have the most up-to-date mobile version of Facebook and therefore the live video option was not available to them.

like @LeeAase and the Mayo staff, we had incredible success using Facebook live for Match Day — must more viewers than anticipated, especially given that we only promoted we do this the day before and really didn’t do much to promote it. We saw it as a trial run and just wanted to see what happened. It was very popular and we’ll definitely do this again. I also agree that it may be doing both Facebook Live and Periscope, depending on your audience and also the event you’re covering. We struggled to get enough staff to cover Match Day, so I opted to only do Facebook Live this time.

Please login or register to post a comment.

© Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. All Rights Reserved.