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5 Things Every Marketer Needs to Know About the Meerkat App

5 Things Every Marketer Needs to Know About the Meerkat App Blog Feature

March 6th, 2015 min read

Meerkat_AppThe other night while the snow was coming down in New England, I watched the sun shining over Sydney Harbour in Australia...in real-time. 

Wondering how that's even possible?

Thanks to a Meerkat stream from HubSpot Sydney's Ryan Bonnici, I got a "fly on the wall" style glimpse of the view from the office down under.

What's Meerkat?

Not to be confused with Timon from The Lion King, Meerkat is a new live video-streaming app that has been taking the Twittersphere by storm this past week. 

What's it to you?

We're glad you asked...

5 things you need to know about the Meerkat app:

1. What is it?

MeerkatApp

Meerkat is a live video-streaming app for iOS that integrates with Twitter to provide users with a platform to share what they're doing in real-time. 

The streams can only be accessed while they are live, however, the host has the ability to save the footage to their phone and distribute it as they please. 

2. Who is behind it?

Ben_Rubin_Meerkat_

Ben Rubin.

Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive of Life On Air Inc (or "Air" for short), a video streaming app that appears to be very similar to Meerkat in terms of ideation. The main difference between the two is that Meerkat take a more minimalist approach, where Air offers both Facebook logins as well as a native account concept along with the Twitter integration that Meerkat is built around. 

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Meerkat was developed over an eight week period by Life On Air's chief technical officer, Itai Danino. When the app launched, Rubin noticed that this could be something worth exploring further, and quickly made the decision to devote his entire team's efforts to the Meerkat project.

3. How does it work?

Meerkat connects with your Twitter account to provide users with the ability to stream live video to their followers in real-time. 

When you launch a stream, a tweet is automatically posted to your account to notify your followers that you're "on-air." You may have seen these peppered into your feed over the past few days, but in case you haven't, here's a look at one in the wild:

Meerkat_app_live_tweet

To ensure that those who don't stumble upon your tweet don't miss out, the app also sends out a push notification that lets users know when one of the people they follow is streaming. 

Live streams can be viewed on both mobile and desktop, and once you're in, you have an opportunity to interact with the host, as well as fellow lurkers. 

It's also important to note that anyone that is watching your video has the ability to re-stream it to their followers in real-time. 

4. Are there any rules?

According to their website, these are the official rules:

  • Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.
  • Streams will be pushed to followers in real time via push notifications.
  • People can only watch it live. No reruns.
  • Watchers can restream any stream to their followers in real time.
  • Scheduled streams will be distributed in the community by their subscribers.
  • Your own streams can be kept locally on your phone, but never on the cloud.Everyone can watch on web.
  • Be kind.

5. What does it mean for marketers?

As marketers, we're no strangers to the concept of real-time marketing. Between Oreo's infamous Super Bowl XLVII blackout tweet to Taco Bell's SnapChat antics, brands everywhere have seen the value in leveraging the present to engage their audience. 

Meerkat lends itself well to this concept. While we love the live, real-time nature of the video footage, one of our favorite parts about Meerkat is that the streams are ephemeral. One minute they're there, and as soon as the stream ends, they're gone. 

Much like SnapChat, this transient approach works to command the attention of the audience. If they wait five minutes to consume it, it could be gone, creating a really powerful sense of urgency for marketers to experiment with. 

So who is actually using it?

While the app is still gaining traction, we've found that (so far) people aren't being shy about broadcasting their surroundings. And while some of the first streams we've stumble upon were exploratory clips of snowfall, office dogs, and scenic views, the enthusiastic Internet entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuck, seems to have gotten the hang of it already. 

Just yesterday, Vaynerchuk took to the app to stream behind the scenes footage of the filming of episode 77 of The #AskGaryVee Show:

Gary_Vaynerchuk_Meerkat

I tuned into the stream and found the candid, transparent approach to be not only interesting, but highly engaging (although I'm pretty sure everything Gary Vaynerchuk does commands attention.)

While Vaynerchuk chose to leverage Meerkat as a way to highlight authenticity and engage his audience, we're certain that there is a ton of uncharted ground to be explored using this medium.

Are you using Meerkat? How have you seen people using it? What's working? What's not? We'd love to hear what you think in the comments section below. 

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