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Instagram has released a set of new features aimed to encourage better engagement and participation with followers, especially when live streaming or creating Stories.

Countdowns

 

Do you have a big event, announcement, or live stream coming up? Now you can highlight it with an interactive countdown sticker in your Instagram Stories.

Once you’ve created the countdown and set the time limit, you can easily insert it in all your stories to remind your audience about important events or promotions. You can also use the stickers to raise awareness of a limited-time offer that is expiring soon.

Followers who see the countdown can also choose to follow it, which will ensure they receive a notification when the countdown is over.

Question Stickers

One of the biggest ways people like to use Instagram’s live videos is to answer viewer questions. The only problem is this can get a bit hard to follow when you have lots of viewers asking questions back to back. It can also be hard for new viewers to know what question is being answered.

Now, viewers can create and share question stickers during live streams to make it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

The stickers are easily browsable for streamers to pick from. Once chosen, the question will be shown at the bottom of the screen so that viewers know what question you are answering. You can see an example below:

Both of these features are now available for both iOS and Android users. However, broadcasting live videos is only available currently on iOS. Android users can still view the streams and share questions.

Twitter is following Facebook and Instagram’s lead by prioritizing live streams in users’ feeds. The social network announced it would begin bumping live streams to the top of users’ timelines while the streams are active.

This means anytime someone you are following begins streaming, you will be able to see it automatically at the top of your feed.

As Twitter said in the announcement:

“We’re making it easier to find and watch live broadcasts. Now, when accounts you follow go live, the stream will appear right at the top of your timeline.

Catch breaking news, your favorite personalities, and can’t-miss sports moments. Rolling out now on iOS and Android.”

The decision to prioritize live streams in people’s feeds isn’t exactly shocking. While streams can be rewatched after the original event is over, being able to interact with streamers during the video is a big driver of engagement for streams. Once the initial stream is over, engagement with the post typically dwindles significantly.

This is why Facebook and Instagram have similarly prioritized live streams on their platforms by sending notifications to users and highlighting active streams in the primary feed.

Although Twitter has yet to clarify, it seems likely the boost applies to both video live streams and the new audio-only streams rolled out for users last week.

YouTube Live

YouTube is arguably the largest online video platform on the internet (though Facebook is providing some tough competition), so it is interesting that the platform has been one of the slowest to provide a widely available way to live stream.

That may be starting to change, however, as YouTube is significantly lowering the number of subscribers a user needs before being able to stream.

YouTube only introduced its public live streaming feature back in February, although it has partnered with large events to provide live streams for years. Even then, a user needed to have at least 10,000 subscribers before they were allowed to start streaming.

Over the past week, that threshold was quietly reduced to just 1,000 subscribers. Rather than announce the change, it was only discovered after a change to one of YouTube’s help pages.

The subscriber requirement is just one of a couple different stipulations required for streaming. Users must also have a verified channel and have not received any live stream restrictions in the past 90 days. Live stream restrictions are punishments placed against channels that have violated YouTube’s terms of services.

To start a live stream, follow these simple steps:

  • Tap the camera icon
  • Grant permissions allowing the YouTube app to access the Camera, Mic, and Storage.
  • Verify your account if you have not previously.
  • Tap GO LIVE.
  • Name your live video and set the privacy setting for your stream
  • Tap FINISH when you’re ready to end the stream

Periscope Logo

Since Periscope launched, it has been a minimalist affair. The app allows you to livestream video from a smartphone, and watch from any device (though only mobile users can comment or “heart” videos). That’s basically it.

The company has added a few basic features like the ability to search and save videos, but it has otherwise lacked many essential features that brands and users have been begging for.

That all looks to be changing this week, as Periscope has announced several new features that should help satisfy users and advertisers alike. From pre-roll ads and analytics to better browsing and cross-platform support, there is a lot of new stuff coming to the app in the near future.

Pre-Roll Ads

Monetizing Periscope has always been a difficult task, but the Twitter-owned company is making strides by introducing pre-roll ads. Similar to those seen on Twitter, the pre-roll ads will allow both publishers and creators to monetize their content with a quick video before their live stream goes live. The pre-roll videos will also show on replays of past live videos.

The ads are expected to roll out in the next couple months. If you want to get in on the chance to be one of the first advertisers to have access, you must be a part of Twitter’s Amplify program.

Analytics Dashboard

panalytics

It’s hard to offer a way to monetize content without also giving publishers the chance to see how their streams are actually performing. Thankfully, Periscope is launching a new analytics dashboard that will give streamers the chance to see just how many people are viewing their videos and for how long.

The dashboard will also include information about how many hearts each video ears, as well as breaking down the time spent watching the live video and its replay. It offers a few different ways to sort the data and the ability to export data. Overall, the information is still fairly limited, but it is a good start.

Activity Details

activity-tab

Keeping in the spirit of helping creators gauge engagement, Periscope’s new activity tab lets you see new followers and when someone watches a replay. The company says it plans to expand this tab with much more detail about your viewer’s behaviors. For now, you can see the basic engagement info in the new tab being released to Android and iOS users today.

Periscope Comes To Twitter Moments

Twitter is also working to incorporate Periscope content more prominently across its platform. The latest move to do this comes in the form making Periscope videos watchable from directly within a Twitter Moment. Moments, the company’s curated new stories, highlight top-quality content to users across the platform and could give a great deal of visibility to Periscope streamers.