40,000 Meerkats – and counting


If you haven’t come across it yet, get ready to start hearing a lot more about Meerkat, the new iOS app that links directly to Twitter, offering live video streaming capabilities. We decided to take a look at the numbers behind the app and where its potential lies.

Since Meerkat’s launch on the 27th February, there have been over 40,000 Meerkat links shared on Twitter, from just over 27,000 people. The peak was on Monday the 9th March with a total daily volume of 6,476 links shared.

So far, 79% of those that have tried Meerkat have Meerkated just once, 19% have Meerkated 2-4 times only 1% over 5 times. But it is early days – and how many times can you really live stream an office tour?

To date, we’re seeing Meerkat dominance from the USA (35% California, 25% New York), with a strong male bias (85%). As would be expected, we’re seeing early adopters primarily from the tech/startup scene, but communities around media and entertainment are also getting involved.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 15.30.00

As it stands Meerkat links offer little insight as to the content of the live streams, as many people aren’t annotating their links with a clear description. Granted, Meerkat’s model is based on being alerted about videos streamed by your Twitter friends, but if you were to search for the stream of recent Meerkats it’s difficult to discover relevant or interesting content. Count on there being a number of Meerkat search and discover apps out there very soon. Location-based Meerkat discover could also be very interesting.

Use has been varied, but we’ve seen lots of office tours, commutes, people at their computers, people sharing what they’re watching on TV and yesterday I watched two geese walking in the snow somewhere in Canada…. Twitter account @bestmeerkats is already curating some of the most interesting Meerkats out there, ranging from museum tours, dog walks, football practice and celebrity Q&As.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 15.02.56

A few people have literally gone Meerkat mad. The most active user to date is @CurlySafia, who has Meerkated 97 times at time of writing – mostly about her daily routine and a few software tutorials.

So what next for Meerkat – and what are the opportunities for brands? Often new social channels are designed with users in mind, and brands are like the uninvited guest at a party that have to try and be cool and fit in. This isn’t so true for Meerkat because fundamentally it’s live video – and most user generated live video is, let’s face it, awful.

As the channel matures we’ll see better content from a few creative types but it will certainly be a case of needle/haystack.

Bad user generated content is likely to make people avoid Meerkat links on Twitter, so there’s a danger the app could self implode because of this. But – this is where brands come in. Meerkat allows brands to give real time behind the scenes videos of their products, events, people and places – the list goes on. Imagine a Meerkat from an adidas tennis player at Wimbledon as they sit by the net mid game or at the launch of the next Google product backstage as a sneak peak for fans only. CNBC is first out of the brand blocks, already experimenting with the app to webcast Jim Cramer’s ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate “Mad Money’s” 10th anniversary.

As I hinted earlier I think that a future discovery engine could add a rich layer to a platform like this, i.e. the ability to search for “live now” moments based on location or context.

It’ll be interesting to watch Meerkat organically evolve to see if it can find a genuine role in the social app scene.