July 23, 2015 | Jenna Redfield

Which platform is the future of video content marketing on mobile?

We here at ThinkSEM are always looking at ways for businesses to drive leads and conversion to their websites, and in addition to landing pages and PPC marketing, social media is another important aspect to growing a brand and building an audience.

Today we will be discussing the rise of video on mobile devices and how those in marketing — especially content and social media — can utilize the influx of different types of video platforms and make a wise decision on what to put their time, effort and money into.

YouTube, Periscope, Vine or SnapChat?

Since the launch of online video (since YouTube in 2005) the landscape has changed immensely. Within the past 2 years, a majority of new platforms have launched that are strictly on mobile and have extreme time limits.

Vine — an app that has 6-second looping videos — was launched by Twitter in 2013 and has evolved from a stopmotion feature to a comedy and advertising platform. Snapchat, which turned down a $1 billion offer from Facebook, has added a new “story” feature that users can upload for any follower to watch that lasts 24 hours. The newbie of the bunch, Periscope (along with rival Meerkat) has made creating video as easy as picking up a phone and filming, no editing required, but videos also disappear after 24 hours.

All these new video applications are taking over the eyeballs of many of the millennials but the question remains: which platform has the greatest potential and greatest reach in the marketing world? Well, that’s what we are trying to figure out in this post.

Today we will be looking at longevity, advertising opportunities, communication between brand and consumer, as well as future applications for the platforms and predictions about which will be the best for marketers going forward.

Before doing that, we will discuss each platform individually, including features of each platform. Apps like Instagram and Pinterest are not included in this list, as they are mostly “image-based” sites.



The oldest and arguably the most powerful of the bunch, YouTube is a Google-owned video platform with more than a billion users. According to their statistics page,

“The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year on year.”

The majority of videos that are watched on this platform have, within the last few years, been produced by influencers and content creators, each receiving millions of views and subscribers. Within the past 3 years, the amount of money YouTube has been making via advertising is through the roof.

According to an article on Fortune.com,

“The company also touted strong performance on YouTube, which has been under increasing pressure as competitors, most notably Facebook, gain traction. ‘Watch time,’ YouTube’s metric for measuring usage, grew 60% over the second quarter of last year, and on mobile, watch time has more than doubled.”

YouTube has become the premiere platform for launching a career in entertainment. It has also become a huge tool for marketers wanting to show off their fun sides as well as inform their viewers. Buzzfeed is a great example: within the past year, their YouTube channel has exploded and more eyeballs are watching than ever. It really has changed the way people think about the site.


via SocialBlade


From Google themselves,

“More than a million channels in dozens of countries are earning revenue from the YouTube Partner Program, and thousands of channels are making six figures per year.”

With the addition of Facebook Video in 2014, long-form video is still the biggest player in the game. This doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There are more opportunities for editing, including

  • adding text (calls-to-action),
  • clickable annotations,
  • Google Analytics support,
  • and shareable content on Facebook, Google + and Twitter.

The shareable content can be viewed on both mobile and desktop, something that is harder to accomplish with apps like Snapchat and Periscope.



This 6-second looping app was released in 2013 after being purchased by Twitter the year earlier. It quickly became one of the most popular apps within the app store and became a phenomenon for the under-30 crowd.

The app created its own celebrities, with teen stars like Jack and Jack and Shawn Mendes receiving music record deals; Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas landing movie deals; Jerome Jarre and Zach King landing interviews on the Ellen Show; and a lot of similar success for the top-followed stars.

There was a lot of money to be made and companies jumped on the platform. It was announced that Vine averages 1.5 billion loops per day and has over 40 million users as of January 2015.

However, since the launch of competitors that I will mention below, the platform seems to be waning. Although the celebrities from the app are still going strong, brands and companies using the platform seemingly cannot succeed without them.

Marketers have realized it really is a challenge to come up with great content in 6 seconds. Many companies have struggled and most have failed, and thus have hired these young stars who understand the platform inside and out to be spokesmen for different products and have collaborated on Vines on their channel with a link to the brand’s vine channel.

Gigaom.com says

“Although the company hasn’t introduced advertising, brands pay the top Vine celebrities, the stars with the most followers, to do product placement in their videos or even outright mini commercials. The six second limitation to the video has spurred new, creative forms of expression from stop motion art to its own genre of slapstick comedy.”

Unless you are a large company with the resources — thousands of dollars per Vine — to collaborate with some of these stars, this platform probably isn’t for the small-business type. This one I would skip. It is, however, still one of my personal favorite forms of fast entertainment.



Snapchat is an interesting phenomenon but it is a real challenge for marketers trying to grow their business using the platform.

The mystery of the app is part of its charm. It seems like a private app, something that is so foreign in the social media landscape, since without knowing someone’s handle, there is no list of people to follow (e.g., Vine, Pinterest, and Periscope connect to your Twitter account to help you find followers).

There are no notifications that someone has posted something to a story on SnapChat; you have to be interested and want to see something enough to follow someone and eventually watch their story. Then, the content disappears after 24 hours.

Brands and companies are struggling to come up with ways to get people to follow their social media content. Although Snapchat has recently added the “Discover” category to the top of the story page, it’s really not very inviting as it screams “I’m an ad!

The fact that these ads are “Opt-In” — which all of Snapchat is — is both a good and bad thing. Good because it doesn’t interrupt your content-viewing like YouTube does with the ads it places before the video, and bad as many people probably won’t click it.

The largest draw for Snapchat is the secrecy and privacy it offers its users; the main reason it was created. But this is a huge lack for marketers as it’s extremely difficult to retrieve user data.

Sprinklr.com says,

“Although Snapchat got into trouble for making false claims about privacy, the absence of tracking, “creepy” targeting or any kind of permanent record of a user’s Snaps is really the USP of Snapchat, which CEO Evan Spiegel has been very vocal about. Commentators have suggested that this will be Snapchat’s downfall when it comes to monetization, as without this data, advertisers can’t target users.”

With the increasing updates to Snapchat, it is yet to be seen whether it can truly be a great tool for marketers. Stay tuned…



Periscope, in my mind, is probably the most exciting video platform and has the most potential to be a marketer’s best friend. The main reasons:

  • unlimited recording time, and
  • live chat communication with viewers.

While Snapchat and Vine have time limits and very little communication (comments that are not in real time (Vine), and no comments or feedback (Snapchat)), Periscope is the best tool of the bunch for instant feedback and communication. Although there is no way to edit or change the content that is being produced, the sense of live entertainment creates a human element that none of the previously mentioned platforms achieve.

Although sites like YouNow, Google Hangouts and other livestreaming platforms have existed online in the past, the mobile livestream had been lacking until 2015. Meerkat, a competitor to Twitter’s Periscope, was launched a few weeks before and had a lot of buzz at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, but since the launch of Periscope has lost steam.

When discussing Meerkat vs Periscope and which platform is better, the chatter among twitter users has been about 80-20 in favor of Periscope. The app is owned by Twitter, meaning they will promote it and do all they can to see it succeed. Just like the classic Blu-Ray vs HDDVD fight from way back in 2008, two similar apps will battle it out until one reigns champion. I’m putting my money on Periscope. Meerkat is still alive and kicking, but for how long?

Either platform that you decide to use, there has been some controversy over the legality of livestreaming at certain events (sports, concerts, film premieres, etc.).

According to KerryGorgone.com,

“Streaming video with Meerkat or Periscope (or any similar service) in a public place is generally legal, but brands should obtain releases beforehand if they plan to use the content for commercial purposes.”

So, use the right judgment before going live!

I’ve found this to be a better community as well. Influencers as well as everyday people have used the platform to ask questions, similar to a Twitter chat, to create conversations. They can answer questions and respond to comments in real time, making it more interactive than any previous platform mentioned.

Brands could use this well: to introduce new products, pose questions to their consumers about what they are loving, behind-the-scenes shots…

…people LOVE that kind of stuff.

The hardest part of selecting either Meerkat or Periscope is the decay rate of content: both apps — like SnapChat — have a short shelf life of 24 hours.

So, which should the marketer pick, based on what was mentioned above?

The Winners are…..Drumroll Please!

youtube_logo largeicon

Of the 4 apps mentioned, I believe that YouTube and Periscope are the best tools that marketers should really start to look into using to connect with their audience and really create a connection. They have the biggest reach (YouTube) as well as the highest level of communication with their audience (Periscope).

Here are the main reasons why for each platform.


  • Most users, 2nd largest search engine after Google
  • Content can be edited, shared and has a long shelf life
  • Increasingly popular for all ages and very profitable for advertisers


  • Easy to figure out and no setup or editing time
  • Constant communication and feedback from audience
  • A great way to grow a new audience through discovery

Although Snapchat and Vine are great competitors, they are harder platforms to master and to create profitable ads, as the overwhelming wave of new technologies come along faster and faster, it’s better to figure out a few, instead of trying to understand and utilize all of them.

What are your favorites? Which have worked best for you? Comment below and let us know!




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