Meerkat and Periscope Fight For Social Users

There are two apps that, true to their namesakes, have been popping their heads up a lot as of late. Both Meerkat and Periscope recently emerged as live-streaming video apps geared towards making visible what might otherwise be out of sight. At a time when people want immediate access and can’t stand the FOMO (fear of missing out), both apps are poised to make their mark. But which will see greater adoption amongst social users? We’ve got some preliminary thoughts.



Meerkat commanded great attention at this year’s South by Southwest. The new live-streaming app, created by CEO Ben Rubin, has repeatedly been hailed as SXSW’s darling. The app even triumphed when Twitter pulled its ability to tap into Twitter’s social graph. To date, Meerkat has more than 120,000 users and reported that its user base continues to grow by 30% each day.

Carusele, an Ignite Social Media company, actually put Meerkat to the test when officially launching at SXSW. While Jim Tobin was launching the company in Austin, TX, the rest of us were watching via Meerkat live-stream from Michigan and North Carolina. Meerkat certainly helped bridge the distance but we can’t quite testify that it created a sense of spontaneous togetherness. The live-stream video itself was often glitchy and unfocused.

Despite these initial hiccups, Meerkat has acquired celebrity users like Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, and Jared Leto. A few brands like Verizon Wireless, Intuit, and L’Oreal Paris USA also gave the app a test-run.

For now, Meerkat appears to be at a disadvantage. For one, live-streams created on Meerkat are truly ephemeral and can’t be accessed after the fact, meaning none of us could replay the launch and new visitors to Ignite’s Meerkat account couldn’t check out the stream after launch.  At the time of Carusele’s launch, Meerkat’s now rival Periscope hadn’t yet been released. But now that it has been, the buzz is undeniably leaning in its favor.



In January, Twitter acquired Periscope and formally launched the app this past Thursday. The response was overwhelming and we totally see why. The app has a greater ease of use, especially because it’s fully integrated with Twitter, giving you immediate access to your current Twitter following. Moreover, Periscope promotes greater engagement with small additions like a heart-shaped icon that users can utilize to send love during a video-stream. Users are already getting creative with this feature, asking their followers to send hearts to cue a specific action and send a message if they’d like to see an alternate action occur.

Like Meerkat, Periscope has early celebrity adopters like Katy Perry who has used Periscope to give her fans sneak peeks into red-carpet moments and behind the scenes Q&As. However, Periscope seems to be on the uptick in terms of brand adoption with brands like Mountain Dew, Red Bull, DKNY, and Spotify jumping on board to test out the app. Increased brand confidence might be caused by Twitter’s official backing of the app but it undoubtedly helps that Periscope live-streams can be accessed for at least 24-hours after they first air.

The Shake Out:

There’s no doubt that at a time when social fans want more authenticity and immediacy from brands, both Meerkat and Periscope are intriguing apps with great potential to engage brand’s social audiences.  They open up the possibility of giving fans access to key moments, in more than 15 second intervals, that might otherwise have been inaccessible. Think new product launches, industry events, live event coverage, and behind the scenes footage.

But in a landscape riddled with apps that flash and burn like meteors, are Meerkat and Periscope poised for scalable, sustainable growth? Right now, the jury is out on whether the investment is worthwhile for brands but we’ll definitely be poking our heads around, Meerkating and Periscoping to determine the verdict.


Ignite Social Media