Meerkat Madness: Innovation, engagement and marketing insights from SXSW

The topic of the week: Being SXSW’s breakthrough app is a dubious distinction, at best. Meerkat won SXSW’s software equivalent of the high school prom, but does that mean it will do well once it graduates to the real world?

Scooped from Mashable.

It’s been a huge three weeks for SXSW ‘it” app, Meerkat. For the app created by Ben Rubin in 8 days, the storm started with the news that Twitter had cut Meerkat’s access to the social graph, with just 2 hours notice, during the event that could make or break their future. This hit hard with the SXSW audience. Mixed views were had, debates were started:

But Ben Rubin’s views on the whole Twitter debacle are quite refreshing, especially in the highly competitive SXSW and tech landscape: “I really believe that whatever Twitter has in its plans, it’s going to be awesome, I really believe that,” he says. “Having said that, I think our job as entrepreneurs is to make sure that we also have a space, and different perspective, and a different kind of product so people can have the opportunity to choose and relate to different products and messaging to feel connected. I don’t look at it as a threat, it’s part of the whole ecosystem.” – Source, Business Insider

This is something we discuss at Traackr often, especially as of late with the spike in influencer marketing-related products. As a technology company, when your space is booming with competition, that’s a great sign.

But whether Meerkat will succeed greatly against the competition or burn out in SXSW fashion is still up for debate, with loyal and vocal parties on both ends. If anything, this wildfire success shows the pubic appetite for shareable, engaging live video – a new world for digital marketers to begin exploring.

What are the influencers saying?

I met with Brian Fanzo here at SXSW, who has been “Meerkatting” live sessions, recaps, and all things Austin. He shared with me his SXSW Meerkat user experience from a social media marketing perspective.

“The engagement I’ve seen has been crazy!” He shared how a new business relationship was ignited through one of his Meerkat streams, “that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

I also listened in on his “Meerkast,” where he discussed his learnings from using Meerkat at SXSW. He went into further detail on this idea of increased digital engagement with Meerkat and answered some interesting questions.

Meerkat is doing great because…

“For me it’s all about how I bring my content to my community. That’s why Meerkat is doing so well, compared to YouStream. It’s integrated right into our community we’re already in – aka, Twitter.”

As a Meerkat viewer you are able to log in from Twitter to watch the stream, comment, and engage in real time. However, since Twitter cut access to the social graph, this is a little trickier now.

Scaling Engagement On Meerkat

“I wore my Pebble Watch during a SXSW presentation, and I could actually get my Meerkat feedback while speaking…directly to my watch. So, when we’re thinking about scaling our engagement – I had a pretty good use case to leverage your wearable device”

A cool feature of the app, and what Brian is referring to, is the ability for viewers to comment directly on a stream from their Twitter handles. So, when Brian was giving his presentation, he was able to answer questions and see feedback in real time… from his watch! Whoa, hi, 2015.

The Future

It’s going to be interesting, to say the least, to see if/how Meerkat will succeed and transform moving forward. From livestreaming protests at Ferguson, to classes streamed in real time, to virtual real estate tours, right now the possibilities seem endless. I’m most interested to see who will make the first creative Meerkat marketing move! (MarketingProfs has the early list of ways to use Meerkat for event marketing.)

One constant in the tech and app world is innovation. Innovation never stops, even on a “finished” tech product. So, who knows where Meerkat could end up: “I think the team owes it to the community to keep innovating for a little bit more time” – Rubin.