Live-streaming app Meerkat is the hot platform on the horizon.
A successful outing at SXSW has reinforced the presence of the latest social media darling.
Launched on February 27th by startup company Life On Air, the app allows users to live-stream to the public from their device’s camera.
So far, Meerkat videos are viewed over 60,000 times per day on average.
The app requires you to log in using your Twitter account to begin live-streaming.
Once you’re synchronised, you can start a live-stream with a description of “what’s happening.” A link to the stream is posted to your Twitter feed, giving your followers the heads-up to come and view your stream.
Once a stream ends, it can be saved and posted manually.
Watch Out, Meerkat
While live streaming itself is nothing groundbreaking, the difference with Meerkat was its seemingly smoother integration with Twitter.
Unfortunately, that’s where Twitter has stepped in. After Meerkat began to trend in the App Store last week, Twitter put an end to a key feature.
Initially, Meerkat users could import their social graph from Twitter, essentially importing the data regarding who they follow and who follows them. Twitter has begun to cut this off, breaking the user experience on Meerkat by forcing them to find their contacts anew.
Twitter confirmed this action:
“We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy. Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and login with their Twitter credentials.”
Twitter has recently acquired its own live-streaming service. Periscope functions in a similar space to Meerkat, but has Twitter’s backing as their official live-stream app. We’ve seen with Facebook’s Rooms [below] that this doesn’t always make the difference big platforms hope it will.
Live-Tweeting is nothing new, as brands take to Twitter to commentate on events such as the Academy Awards, sports matches and cultural celebrations. What Meerkat offers is a witness-eye-view of events.
An example of this is the recent live-streaming of an arrest in America. Though the outcome of this event wasn’t significant, the implications are. Controversial events could now be broadcast live to the world, by anybody with a smartphone and a Twitter handle.
Social media apps come and go incredibly often. Even the ones that show promise, have viable marketing opportunities or a big brand backing it can fade into obscurity as quickly as they shoot to fame.
One example of this is Facebook’s Rooms app. Designed with the intention of creating a chatroom-esque forum for topic-centric discourse, Facebook’s app has had little practical application to users or marketers. No branded campaigns have been spotted making waves in Rooms, since it’s launch last October.
Another once-exciting app was Yo! Developed by Life Before Us, the app allowed you to send a soundbite “Yo!” to friends who had also downloaded the app. With approximately 1.2 million monthly active users at one point, some brands experimented with sending content links out to followers through a rich Yo! However, with no verifying of accounts and a limited usability, the app has also struggled to secure a place in most people’s phones, despite its refreshing design.
On the other hand, there are always apps that stand out from the crowd due to their unique user experience, entertainment value or the marketing opportunity presented by their continued popularity.
The self-destructing image and video sharing app has risen dramatically in usage and marketing clout.
Not only is it boasting a monthly active user base of a rumoured 100 million, famous brands and personalities are broadcasting fun and engaging content to followers on a daily basis. With Sponsored Stories and the Discover function, Snapchat are asking for $750,000 for marketers to get in on the action.
Vine has become a huge deal for brands, with a crowd of increasingly popular and influential Viners achieving millions of unique views on their six-second videos. When sponsoring or commissioning a Vine, a brand can guarantee it will be seen by thousands, if not millions, of potential new customers. Vine has roughly 40 million monthly active users to reach. The only downside? A lack of censorship across the app makes the risk of trolling or controversy an issue.
Anonymous chatroom-style app Yik Yak has become a go-to space for humour and everyman philosophy. The up-voting system, in-thread replies and geographical elements allow you to enjoy the wit (or lack thereof) of hundreds of people in your local area. With little-to-no marketing efforts on Yik Yak, the popularity is largely organic and relies on a passionate audience taking genuine value from the app – proving that fun and entertaining content is important to many people.
Over To You
What do you think? Will Meerkat be more than a flash in the pan?
Since the time of writing, Twitter’s own live-streaming app, Periscope, appears to have done away with Meerkat. Our own Simon Alexander had the following to say:
Periscope time #twitterstories (someone throttles meerkat quietly off stage) can’t tweet pics or clips of this bit. Looks good
— Simon Alexander (@simon_alexander) March 25, 2015