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Vero or zero?

Thu, 03/05/2018 - 11:55

Even though the social media app, Vero, has been around since 2015, it had only signed up about 150 000 users until recently. Then, out of nowhere, the app started charting in app stores and racked up three million users in what seemed to be no time. 

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But, as is the case with most new social media apps in this age governed by Facebook and Instagram, it took quite a fall. At the moment, it’s dropping rapidly on the charts and server issues means it’s losing users fast. So, the question is: will Vero break through and become the new social sensation or will it follow the dreary path of its predecessors? 

Let’s unpack the app and compare it to the market leaders to get some answers.

Fees

While social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are free to the public, Vero announced at launch that it would charge any users that sign up after the first million a yearly fee for use of the app. While this may seem like an instant shot to the foot, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. 

Facebook, for example, might be free to use but it generates income from ads and selling user data in defined groups. This means that user interests are available to a wide range of advertisers. This is great for the marketing industry but could be a dealbreaker for users who want a pure social experience. 

It’s worth noting, however, that Vero is yet to start charging users, even though it’s reached around three million downloads. This could either mean that they’ve given up on the idea or that it was a clever marketing strategy to get as many downloads as quickly as possible. 

Interface

While most social apps have a pretty similar interface, Vero breaks away from it with dark colours and added navigation features like “Collections”. The one element that really singles it out is the chronological timeline. 

Since Facebook and Instagram have done away with new-to-old feeds, many users have complained and urged them to bring this feature back. So, for these users, Vero answers their call. This has an effect on its usefulness in marketing as users won’t see content unless they scroll far enough to find it. But that’s how the app likes to distinguish itself – as an app for users and not advertisers. 

Audience

Another one of Vero’s defining features is the ability to define the audience users post to. When adding someone as a connection, users can decide how to define this connection. They can choose between “Close Friend”, “Friend” and “Acquaintance”. 

When posting, users can then decide to post to only selected types of connections (like close friends). This mostly impacts the audience from a user level as major companies and brands are still able to acquire followers who will see their content on their dashboards. 

Content

The last major difference between Vero and other social platforms is the type of content users can share. Where Facebook supports links, videos, gifs, photos and text, Vero has the added feature of collections which allows users to share their interests. Whether it’s a book, a film or a song they love, users can share this with their chosen audience. Although this may sound like a nifty feature, it’s not impossible to do on other platforms.

The verdict

While Vero has some novelty in its approach, the question remains whether users would be willing to pay for these features and whether it will outperform Facebook and Instagram. As a marketing tool, Vero might not be the best option for a few reasons. 

First, it’s not quite as stable as other platforms yet with server issues posing a great challenge. Second, the rapid growth and just-as-rapid decline in downloads could point to the fact that users don’t really enjoy using it as much as other social platforms. And finally, with Facebook and Instagram making way more money, their chances of sustainability are higher and they have the means to rebuild and add features as users need them. 

Ultimately, it seems that Vero will follow the same path as past apps that have tried to break the social monopoly. While their approach is novel and their user-focus is noble, in the end, advertising is what keeps these platforms going long enough for people to buy in.