What’s best? YouTube Live, Periscope or Facebook Live?

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It’s so hard to keep track of what live video social media app to use. Periscope. Facebook Live. MeVee worked too but already has disappeared from the market again. There used to be Meerkat and Blab and Google Hangout has video, too. Maybe we should do them all at once. That would be how many phones I need then?

Seriously, it can be hard to keep track of what to use and what not to use. And they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

I had fallen off the Periscope bandwagon, but Twitter, which owns it, had made some nice improvement and it was easier to reach more people, in part because Twitter started playing Scopes directly in the Twitter stream. People no longer had to download the app, which eliminated that hurdle.

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Facebook Live is loved by some because Facebook is still the big dog in social media land in late 2016. Most people are on Facebook, but we’ve already seen some audiences move elsewhere. You need the Facebook App on your phone to go live on Facebook. Personally, I deleted it because it just takes up too much space. I know Facebook Live works for some, but I’m not using it at all.

YouTube has had live streaming capabilities for a while and I’ve watched many things live on YouTube – including the 2016 Democratic National Convention and other events and shows. But, I always thought you had to hook up a real camera to your computer to live stream via YouTube. Just about anything I watched live on YouTube looked fairly highly produced. Can you go live from your phone, which is why Periscope is so easy to use. As far as I knew, the answer was no for YouTube Live from your phone.

The YouTube app didn’t offer a live option for a while, but finally rolled that out in 2018. So you can now go live directly from within the app. Make sure wifi is good! The video below discusses this post’s topic and I live streamed it to YouTube, shared the live link to Twitter and Facebook. There weren’t very many live viewers and as of this writing the total viewer count is well below the number of people that tune into my Periscopes. But the quality is high definition and once installed the was super easy to use.

But there are also advantages: The video is more easily searchable (and findable). You can embed it on your website, something Periscope doesn’t allow (yet).

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Clearly, we can’t live broadcast on all these channels at once. We just don’t have enough hands. 🙂 I think of the different networks for different purposes and broadcasts:

Periscope – If you have a large Twitter following, use this to go live quickly and if the topic lends itself to a conversation. Comments from viewers appear right there and that’s a great advantage of the app. It’s also easy to go live from inside the Twitter app.

Facebook Live – I still think that Facebook will change in the near-ish future and reach continues to decline here, but if you have a large following, give it a try.

YouTube Live – This is particularly useful when the topic has some timelessness to it. Will the video still be interesting a week or month or longer from now? if yes, YouTube Live might be the way to go.

We may not even have to choose one or the other, but use the one best for a particular situation. And when in doubt, test, test, test. Use the channel that’s most relevant and useful to you and your audiences.

This was first written in 2016 and updated in 2018.