Meerkat is the app that's giving smartphone users the ability to broadcast almost anything, from concerts to sporting events to boring, everyday life. The live streaming, instantaneous nature of Meerkat certainly makes it appealing on paper, but is this really the next Instagram in the making? There’s only one way to know for sure — get on the train now, and ride it as far as it goes.
The Early Meerkat Gets the Follower
In the business world, we’re always looking for the next big thing. Being an early adopter provides multiple benefits, such as building a large and lucrative user base for the future, as well as connecting you to other like-minded people for opportunities, partnerships and collaborations.
Who's on Meerkat?
If you don’t know what Meerkat is, go ahead and read one of the hundreds of articles online trying to make sense of it, or simply download it at http://meerkatapp.co. In a nutshell, you link your Twitter account, type in what you’re streaming with any applicable hashtags, then tap the Stream button. Watch to your delight as viewers begin to flock to your feed, or to your dismay as the viewer count stays at zero. We tested Meerkat in a couple different ways, and there seem to be distinct audiences in some spaces, such as venture capitalists who are going ga-ga over Meerkat, or the SXSW music fans responsible for the app's explosion. However, some audiences are also conspicuously absent, such as the realm of sports.
Meerkat in Action
The MindFire Sports podcast called F U Mode (subscribe in iTunes here) has consistently Meerkat’ed for the last couple weeks during not only the recording of its podcasts, but also from premium box seats at Time Warner Cable Arena for the Duke vs. Robert Morris NCAA basketball game — an event you’d think would be a popular stream, at least even for a moment. With appropriate hashtags and crystal clear video, the stream began and went on for a large portion of the first half, never garnering more than 2 viewers. We promptly ended the stream and tried a new strategy.
Keep the Train Moving
Damien, CEO of a top-125 website in the USA called The Cheat Sheet started a new Meerkat stream, only this time with different tags — tags directed toward his followers, addressing venture capitalism and why Meerkat may not be all it’s cracked up to be, at least as an all-encompassing juggernaut like Instagram. The viewers poured onto the stream, and our A/B test was finished. Meerkat is getting a ton of press, but are VC’s and the tech crunchers really the only people who will keep pushing to use this app? The answer can only be told in time, but one thing is clear — with a small daily user base and extremely isolated demographics, Meerkat isn’t trending toward the ideal unicorn that many are inferring it to be. There is something fascinating about Meerkat, though. We will certainly be riding this train, either off the cliff or into eternity. Go Meerkat, we’re rooting for you!