Mar 25 2015 | by LYDIA TAYLOR
We’ve all come to know and love the cuddly family of meerkats on tv insurance ads, but little do they know that there’s a new mongoose in town…
With it’s bold yellow branding the Meerkat app has been hard to miss recently, all thanks to the traction it’s gained at new music festival, SXSW. The Texan festival is no stranger to catapulting social media to new heights, as it gave Twitter a mass of media coverage in 2007, and was used to launch Foursquare in 2009.
The Meerkat app is a live-streaming video platform that links directly to a user’s Twitter account. In short, Meerkat makes it easy for you to set up and broadcast informal live streams that the whole world can see.
It may seem like the app has popped up out of nowhere, but it’s actually the reinvention of a long-running project by Ben Rubin. Ben’s first project was a live video streaming app called Yevvo, but despite gaining around 400,000 users, there was very little activity on the app, causing Ben to close the app down for good. But a mere 18 months on, his streamlined replacement, Meerkat was born.
Unlike its predecessor, Meerkat is, as they say, simples! The app has just two options; start a stream instantly or schedule one for later, and anything you stream will automatically notify your followers so that they can follow along and comment as they watch.
Meerkat officially launched in late February and gained over 28,000 users in its first week alone, but it’s this week that the app’s really taken off. There’s no doubt that it’s the current big thing on Twitter; all you have to do is look out for the |LIVE NOW| messages appearing on your newsfeed. The question is… does it have the longevity to last?
That, arguably, is down to Twitter.
Demonstrating how significant Meerkat has become in the social sphere, Twitter have sought to compete for themselves, purchasing the rights to Periscope; Meerkat’s main competitor. Currently in beta, Periscope will be launched as a separate app to Twitter, allowing users to create and watch both live streams and any previously broadcasted streams from within the app.
But that’s not all they’ve done, as they have also made some small changes to their own platform that could be damaging to Meerkats success (which, given that much of it’s popularity is due to its tight integration with Twitter, could be quite damaging).
Whether Meerkat can maintain the buzz when Periscope launches is yet to be seen, but with their strong branding, simplicity and targeted marketing, they’ve certainly achieved a lot so far!