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GOP presidential hopefuls tap Meerkat to transform political campaigning

The hot new live-streaming video app, which provides unfiltered mobile access to the electorate, has won favor with some potential presidential hopefuls because of its ability to provide a direct connection to voters without the lag-time that other apps impose. It has the potential to transform how political campaigns reach out to voters in the election cycle.

?There is a major opportunity across the board for political candidates to reach their core base ? and beyond, if done effectively,? said Mary Beth Keelty, ?vice president of marketing at PM Digital.

?Since Meerkat is geared towards mobile, there is a chance to woo the elusive millennial generation ahead of a game-changing election cycle.?

Private speech
Mr. Bush, the former Republican Texas governor, used Meerkat last week to invite his 170,000 Twitter followers to watch his speech at a private Atlanta home. 

Sen. Rand Paul's campaign Twitter account used Meerkat when the Kentucky Republican attended the South by Southwest conference at which Meerkat caused a sensation.

Connecting with the electorate via streaming video.

Mr. Bush is formally exploring a candidacy while Mr. Paul has publicly expressed interest.

Other political Meerkat users include Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Since Meerkat?s debut at South by Southwest, it has been expected to revolutionize campaign coverage. The tool is valuable in allowing reporters to broadcast live content from the trail and in allowing politicians to connect instantly by live streaming video with a large audience on mobile.

Meerkat became a tool to be reckoned with right after its launch because of its ability to connect brands and consumers in real-time without delay. 

The app links to users? Twitter feeds to let them stream live video footage.
Politicians have quickly jumped on board with the app because of its ability to directly access the consumer on a real-time basis without the lag-time that other apps impose. 

Since President Obama?s ground-breaking 2008 presidential campaign demonstrated the power of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and other mobile platforms in fund-raising, mobilizing the electorate and deflecting opponents? attacks, mobile marketing has evolved to become more sophisticated and personalized.

In 2012, Twitter was again a game-changer for the political contests, supported by targeted advertising. 

As the 2016 election draws nearer, politicians seeking to counteract the dominance of television and direct-mail advertising will leverage mobile in the year ahead to interact with voters and build war chests.

Candidates will be traveling heavily and could leverage the platform to connect after town halls, appearances, or even make announcements quickly via the app.

Fitting in 
It remains to be seen how Meerkat fits in with the other mobile tools political hopefuls could turn to during the 2016 election contests.

Adding to the arsenal of election campaign tools.

?It?s a nice addition to the arsenal of other social players out there,? Ms. Keelty said. ?I don?t think it?s about using one over the other, it?s going to come down to who can utilize all of them.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York