Meet Meerkat: The darling of SXSW

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Meerkat: enables live streaming for social media
Meerkat: enables live streaming for social media

The live streaming app blows up, despite Twitter's shun

AUSTIN — SXSW Interactive has historically been the place where hot new apps and startups are born. Twitter and Foursquare both blew up there.

But in recent years, there have been complaints that it’s hard for startups to break through all the noise, now that big brands and agencies have joined the party. 

It turns out that this year, SXSW has done its magic: Meerkat has emerged as a winner. Not to be confused with Snapchat, whose yellow-and-white logo is very similar, this two-week-old app allows users to stream live video across social networks.

The timing of Meerkat's launch ahead of SXSW was spot on, considering the volume of social sharing and FOMO the event generates. Data from Omnicom, shows the startup was one of the most buzzed about topics on social at the event, generating over 16,000 mentions.

According to Fast Company, as soon as Meerkat co-founder Ben Rubin arrived in Austin for SXSW and started handing out yellow T-Shirts, he got a call from Twitter to say Meerkat was being booted-off its social graph — in two hours.

But Twitter's divorce of Meerkat — after acquiring a similar app, Periscope, last week — hasn’t hampered growth. In fact, it’s had the opposite effect, with downloads spiking 30% overnight, according to a post from its founders

Outside of the event, Meerkat has already has some great live-streaming action, including the swearing-in of US Secretary of Commerce Michelle Lee; the first female director of the USPTO; and a prayer vigil in Ferguson, which over the course of an hour turned into a demonstration.

Red Bull, known for its innovative marketing, has also set up live streaming through Meerkat to show extreme sports action. 

So as SXSW dies down, brands will likely start to experiment with Meerkat and piggyback the buzz. What do brands dipping their toes into live streaming on Meerkat need to know? Marketing’s Shona Ghosh breaks it down.

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