Meerkat is exploding right now. And Twitter doesn’t like it. But why does it matter to Twitter. Well, Meerkat users broadcast live video to their fans on twitter. And the numbers are insane. It gets even interesting. Today, Twitter officially launched Periscope (Meerkat killer), an app it acquired for a reported $100 million last January, which allows users to initiate live video streams with a simple touch. The live streaming video battle may have just begun.

What is Meerkat anyway?

Meerkat is the new live streaming app that has been taking over social media/marketing by storm. Meerkat allows you to stream live video from your phone to all of your Twitter followers at once. Press ‘Stream’, and instantly your live video stream shows up in your follower’s Twitter feeds.

Here is what Meerkat wants to achieve.

“We aspire to become the most comprehensive and most impactful participatory live streaming community.”

How Twitter has reacted?

Periscope (Twitter’s new live streaming app) arrives on the same day that its chief rival, Meerkat, raised a reported $12 million in a Series A funding round from investors like Greylock Partners, Ashton Kutcher and Jared Leto, at a valuation of $40 million. Yes funding at $40 million valuation. Just so you know, Meerkat launched on Feb 21, 2015. So it’s quiet impressive that it has attracted that kind of attention. The numbers are equally great too for a four weeks old startup.

Meerkat Installs Growth (Feb 21 – March 21, 2015)

Meerkat iOS stats:

1. 50,000 installs in 30 days (source: App Annie) and 300,000 total users (source: TechCrunch)

2. 10,000+ video streams created in 30 days

3. 2,000 average new installs per day

4. Meerkat has been featured by Apple over 46 times on the iTunes homepage since its launch on Feb 21, 2015 (source: App Annie)

5. Notable users include many media & technology influencers of Mashable, Jimmy Fallon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Shaq and Kevin Rose.

6. Notable PR events that generated the most retweets for #Meerkat include Product Hunt, SXSW and Jimmy Fallon.

7. Meerkat has already received over 500 media mentions in the past 30 days (accordingly to Google Trends).

There is no stopping Meerkat. “Going forward, getting celebrities, media outlets, live shows, popular video gamers (similar to Twitch model) would greatly help to strengthen its viral growth and get even more addictive and longer-form content.” says Edith.

Stats courtesy Edith Yeung (500 Startups)

According to the team at Meerkat, here is what they are trying to solve.

“It is neither simple to broadcast from a mobile device nor to discover and consume live content on a mobile device. Today, most live video is consumed and transmitted transactionally.

“Live video over social graphs generates new emotions and feelings that are different from those on existing social networks. Feelings like drama, anticipation, uncertainty, unpredictability, presence and empowerment to change are new.”

“Live streaming is the future and Meerkat is here. We are all about re-inventing shared experiences — as honest and direct as it gets. Whether scheduling an upcoming stream or enabling a two-way interaction between an audience and broadcaster, Meerkat is the programmable layer of live streams.”

Meerkat took the app world by storm earlier this month and became the talk of the town at SXSW. But it may face an uphill battle given that Twitter is a natural home for the live-streaming video landscape.

The Meerkat nation is on Twitter

I am sure Meerkat is already thinking through the best strategy possible to build its own community. “It’s only 30-days old, so we don’t want to create a premature hierarchy within the platform,” says Ryan Cooley, Meerkat community director. “We want to make sure the core experience is the best we can make it for everyone. It’s going to be a product for the people, whether you have 40 Twitter followers or 18 million followers.” he further said in a statement published on Adweek.

Reasons for Meerkat’s sudden, rapid growth.

1. The SXSW factor. Three days into SXSW’s Interactive portion, Meerkat was the most-discussed app of the conference — a distinction previously held by Foursquare and location-based app Highlight.

Meerkat told Washington Post that its user base is growing 30 to 40 percent a day since SXSW started March 13. It signed up 120,000 users in its first two weeks, so should be closing in on the one million user mark. (Thirty-five percent daily growth compounded over a week would put it just short of one million)

According to Steve Welch, founding partner of venture accelerator DreamIt, “Everyone attending the Super Bowl is now a potential broadcaster of the game. Anyone attending a political rally can now report live from the scene. Just imagine the impact on breaking news alone.”

2. Meerkat turns your smartphone into a live streaming device. Coupled with Meerkat’s use of Twitter’s social graph allowed them to quickly explode to over 100,000 users. Twitter didn’t take kindly to this and suspended access to Meerkat’s social graph API. This has slowed down its growth but it’s still growing real fast.

3. It’s insanely simple to use. All you have to do is turn on the app and push a button to start streaming. You can quickly broadcast almost anything live right out of your phone. No need to take a picture and upload it to Instagram. And you can show all your friends what’s going on live with Meerkat. Meerkat will automatically create a tweet for you so that people can click on that link and watch your livestream. This is a very powerful marketing channel.

4. “Leveraging Twitter. Quite similar to ProductHunt, Meerkat uses Twitter as it’s main authentication system. Users can easily generate a viral loop with the retweets and favorites on Twitter through all the easy sharing functions. People like Gary Vaynerchuk saw 500-800 users watching the livestream within minutes of making it live.” says 

This is what Gary said:

“Within a few minutes, 500 to 800 people are watching me live, at any given time,” says Vaynerchuck. “That is insanity, if you think about it . . . and don’t forget, I am a 39-year-old male who talks about business, so my demo isn’t the most native to this.”

5. The timing was perfect. Meerkat could not have chosen a better time. The Apple iWatch, SXSW, and conferences was just a perfect timing for Meerkat. People are excited about these events.

Having launched just four weeks ago, Meerkat must still prove its popularity beyond just early adopters. But the app has real potential.

Is Meerkat the livestreaming app Twitter should have built?


  1. Great article. You don’t get any more ‘real time’ than this. I can think of endless marketing and business use cases where this can be applied. Surly the Facebook version is coming out soon? From Meerkat or Facebook though?

  2. Meerkat from twitter may pulled down due to time and other factors, but that’s actually a good try. I agree and your points are worthy email for any app ideas.

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