Twitter Unveils Live Video: Here's What You Need to Know


On December 14th, Twitter announced that users would be able to broadcast live video directly from Twitter on iOS and Android mobile devices. This move is the result of Twitter’s integration with Periscope, the live video streaming app it acquired back in March of 2015.

Earlier in 2016, Twitter began featuring live and replayed Periscope videos in Twitter timelines that users could watch and interact with — even without a Periscope account.

Now, Twitter users can broadcast live video directly from Twitter without having to create a Periscope account first. Tweets featuring live video can be retweeted and liked, and videos on Twitter can generate comments and heart emojis as they do in the Periscope app.

While this isn’t Twitter’s first foray into live content this year — earlier this year, Twitter began partnering with multiple organizations to become a destination site for live video, featuring NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB Games, Presidential debates, and the Republican and Democratic National Conventions — it is an important one. With the launch of its live capability, Twitter is cementing its place in the competition for user attention — and research shows that video is what users want.

Let’s dive into a quick explainer about how to go live on Twitter and what impact this announcement may have on video marketing.

How to Go Live on Twitter

Starting a live broadcast on Twitter couldn’t be easier. When you click to compose a new tweet in the mobile app, there’s now an option to record live video, as seen below:

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twitter live.png

From there, you tap the “Live” option and enter a caption to accompany your video on Twitter timelines:


Once you start recording, it’s easy to stop broadcasting, change your camera perspective, and see who’s liking and interacting with your video:


Once you’ve finished broadcasting, you can see how your video appears in other users’ Twitter timelines. Here’s my (very brief) broadcast on Twitter:

About to #GoLive on Twitter for the first time!

— Sophia Bernazzani (@soph_bern)
December 19, 2016

That’s it. Easy, right?

For now, Twitter users can receive notifications when specific handles they follow start recording live, and Twitter says they can expect live videos to be featured prominently on their timelines in the future.

What’s Next for Twitter and Periscope?
Twitter Enters the Live Video Arena

If this live video launch sounds familiar to you, you’re right on target — the live content update is very similar to Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Twitter’s new live video capabilities will help it compete against Facebook and Instagram, two social media giants that are currently outpacing Twitter in terms of user growth.

Giving Twitter users the tools to create and share their own live content could help the company attract new users and increase engagement on the platform — especially because 90% of Twitter video plays already happen on mobile devices. On Facebook, live video performs 3x better than embedded video, so Twitter users may start broadcasting more live video on Twitter if it performs similarly.

Twitter Grows as a Breaking News Source

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“Live video is really exciting for Twitter since it takes advantage of two things the network does so well — breaking news and being human,” HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen observed. And she’s right: Twitter has become a destination for breaking news information, and it’s easy to see why.

In just 140 characters, it’s easier and faster to gather information about an evolving story than from articles or television news — 63% of Twitter users surveyed by Pew Research Center admitted they got their news on the platform, and 59% said they had kept up with a news event on Twitter as it was unfolding. By introducing live video into an environment already known for being fast-paced, breaking news just became even easier to share.

This integration of live video will also provide greater context for people trying to witness a breaking news event online. Hunersen added that, “this will also be a good way to disrupt the firehose we’ve come to know on Twitter, where it can be hard to find quality content among the many different tweets, and will add a really engaging element to those tweets.”

Twitter Has Become a Video Destination

Between sports and politics, Twitter was already generating huge audiences for their live video events. Giving users the ability to broadcast live onto a popular platform is a huge win for Twitter, but it’s a win for users, too. As streaming video content grows in popularity, particularly among Millennials, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are all competing to catch the attention of their young user bases. This live video launch could help Twitter attract more partnerships like the ones they made with professional sports leagues and cable news networks to get more eyes on video content on their platform.

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Periscope’s Future is Unknown

As for Periscope, an app that boasts 110 years of live video per day being streamed, what’s next is unclear. With the integration of Periscope’s broadcasting capabilities now available on Twitter without the need for a Periscope account, we don’t know whether Twitter will continue to develop the Periscope app it acquired in 2015. For now, it’s business as usual, but it will be interesting to see if Periscope’s numbers start dropping as Twitter users start ramping up their live video broadcasting frequency.

We’re excited to see how this launch unfolds on Twitter and how it will impact Periscope and other social media platforms. Expect more content from us about competition for users, shares, and engagement, the growing popularity of live video, and more insight into how to record a broadcast Twitter users will love.

What type of video content is your favorite to watch and share on Twitter? Share with us in the comments below.

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