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.
Our 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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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