The Periscope Effect

As I was talking with my girlfriend today, her phone chirped and she immediately forgot about our conversation in a mad dash to get on her phone and open an app called Periscope.

At first, I was a bit shocked, but then my brain started churning.

You see, she’s a photographer and a big fan of a well-known photographer by the name of Sue Bryce.

So when Sue goes live on Periscope, I don’t exist. Perfectly understandable, I mean how could I compete?

Naturally, the entrepreneur in me started to think about how to tap into this power for my own businesses and I began to reverse engineer this black magic.

With the simple sound of a bird chirp, her instant reaction was to check her phone and jump into the app. Could there be more to this?

This is what I am dubbing The Periscope Effect (Fancy name I know).

So how does it work?

You see in Periscope, when someone you are following goes live, the phone chirps like a bird and you have the opportunity to join them in a live video chat.

Nothing crazy or out of this world, we’ve had video chatting for more than a decade right?

However, Periscope has created a sort of Pavlovian response not just in my girlfriend but myself too.

After signing up for Periscope, I’ve also noticed when people I follow or admire go live, I want to immediately jump on and see what their doing or talking about.

So what is this black magic?
Could I be the only one?

Breaking it down, Periscope does a few things quite well as an app that I believe can be applied to any business.

I also casually interviewed a few business friends earning thousands from Periscope to discover I definitely wasn’t alone in my findings.

Below are my observations I will share with you…

How to Apply The Periscope Effect in Your App or Business


Have A Unique Sound

Periscope has a very unique sound that occurs when someone you follow goes live. This sound likely creates a Pavlovian effect in your brain whether this was on purpose or not. When I hear the chirp sound, I immediately check my phone to see who’s going live. That’s powerful.

How you can use this

If you cannot create a literal sound in your business, ask what can be the ‘sound’ in your product or service that triggers a mental response and action for your customers?

This is an age old technique used by companies for a long time, but apparently it still works (ex. When you think coffee, you probably think Starbucks).

Use it, it works.

Create Urgency & Exclusivity

When someone goes live on Periscope, there is an urgency to join them before they finish. This urgency is created by the live stream, but most notably the limit of people who can chat live.

My girlfriend is willing to drop mid-conversation to see her favorite photographer live. But why?

She can watch the replay for up to 24 hours. Which is another great urgency factor. True, but the real urgency is that my girlfriend knows if she get’s on fast enough she will actually be able to post comments and chat with her idol.

If she’s even a few seconds too slow, the room is completely packed and she can no longer participate.

A few seconds? Talk about urgent.

How you can use this

Ask yourself how you can get people to drop everything they are doing to pay attention to your app or business.

Maybe it’s a special deal or limited time offer. Test out different ways you can get customers to take action now and not wait around to make a decision.

Have Real Time Interaction / Social Proof

As human beings we are naturally social creatures. Even the loners in high school joined groups with other loners. I know, because I was one of them.

What Periscope does well is allow for real-time interaction and social engagement.

This also happens to provide social proof for the person, celebrity or business doing the live periscope.

It’s exciting to us and we want to be a part of it.

How you can use this

Adding real time interactions on your website can be a great way to increase social proof. One of the best examples I’ve seen recently that does this is Notify, a Shopify app that displays a simple notification when a customer purchases in real-time to other users shopping the site.

Be Raw, Real and Uncut

Perhaps what I think is most effective about Periscope is that it allows the streamer to be raw, real and uncut for it’s viewers.

In a time when commercials, ads and everything around us is scripted, it’s refreshing to just see the people we idol or follow being real.

Sure you can probably script a Periscope but people will catch on.

How you can use this

Ask how can you be more real and raw in your business? What can you do to relate to customers and talk to them like you would family or friends. Maybe it’s sending a personal email to a new customer that buys your product or calling them on the phone.

People are not attracted to companies with a big cold corporate feel anymore. They want to know the owner. They want to know who’s cooking the food (and what’s in it). This is at least what I’ve observed amongst friends, family and associates, and what I predict will separate the most successful businesses of the future.

Event Based

People love attending events and being a part of something. It’s built in us. It’s why we line up for hours on Black Friday to buy TV’s and save a few dollars, when you can easily buy the same TV online from home.

Periscope, makes it fun and exciting to attend a new live stream with someone you follow. And they do it over and over again.

They even let you discover events and people you don’t know, which opens up a world of possibilities.

How you can use this

Think about how you can create events in your business, whether it’s a webinar or a live event of some sort. Hey maybe even start using Periscope yourself 🙂


These are my own observations on why I think Periscope is doing things well. Feel free to test them out in your own business, I know I will be.

Now back to figuring out how to get back my girlfriends attention from Periscope…

Photo Credit: Tom Sodoge

By | 2017-08-17T19:50:44+00:00 February 2nd, 2016|Business|0 Comments

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