Vero: what is it, and what does it mean for your brand?
We recently shared some thoughts on a topical social media story. That one was about Facebook’s recent change to their algorithm. You can read about our two takeaways from it, here. But stay with us for now. What we’re going to talk about is even more topical.
It’s been getting A LOT of media coverage. Server outage from high levels of demand (downloads / sign-ups) tends to do that. Its life however hangs in the balance. With many of those who originally signed up (for free life time access) now seemingly asking ‘how do I delete Vero?”
Stories of a shady founder, and poor user experience – mainly down to the server issues – are being cited as reasons why.
But it got our interest, and so far it’s come across as pretty slick. So we thought it worth sharing some thoughts. Just in case you’re a brand trying to make sense of it all.
What is Vero?
Basically it was set up by a frustrated user of Instagram – a billionaire user.
He was annoyed with Instagram’s – and other existing platforms – algorithm changes, privacy policies, and the dominance of advertising on these platforms.
And so in answer, with Vero there are no ads (and so no sharing of user data with advertisers), updates are presented chronologically – plus at the moment it’s free.
Vero wants to be the place where we share things with people digitally, in the most natural way possible. Allowing users to share something with everyone they know, a specific group, or with just a single person. And it has 6 main things that can be shared:
– Images and videos (camera)
– Movie / TV
Here’s a section from their manifesto that emphasises this further:
Most social networks reduce everyone to a friend or a follower.
This encourages us to only share the parts of our lives we think are the most interesting.
When you can control who sees what, you can behave in a way that is more natural, which we believe ends up being better for you.
Now for some key takeaways
1. The big question really is – is there room for another social network?
Others have tried and failed. And the one’s that do make an impression, are either bought by Facebook – or copied by them. Perhaps its current surge is down to timing more than anything else (which point 2 references). Oh and the fact that they’ve cleverly created huge demand by giving users the incentive of ‘free life time access’ if they sign up early enough.
2. As a form of protest?
It could turn out that people are downloading in their numbers as a way to signify their discontent with the current social platforms: privacy policies, advertising, algorithms. Basically all the reasons behind Vero’s set up.
It’s clear many Instagram influencers were becoming increasingly frustrated with their post views being cut due to algorithm changes. Whether many of them have the intention to actually use Vero, remains to be seen.
3. What’s the audience?
Data is showing that the early adopters are slightly older in age.
‘A grown up Instagram’.
Much of this is due to the early celebrity adopters and publications on board (GQ as an example). And perhaps slightly older audiences are more willing to get involved with a subscription model.
All it will take though is for other social influencers with younger audiences to join the new platform, and then this could all very quickly change.
But at present, it’s not where you’ll find the cool culturally connected youth of today.
4. How could brands use it?
There are a few obvious benefits for brands:
1. Brands can post content with external links. Something that can’t currently be done on Instagram.
2. Brands can sell through Vero, with a ‘Buy Now’ button.
3. There is no algorithm, so the more often you post at certain points of the day – the more likely content will be seen. Good for smaller brands that often had to compete against big budgets to be seen.
4. It’s pretty clear that for brands their strategy should be influencer led. It is aiming to be an authentic social network, so brands should leverage influencers to tell authentic brand stories on their behalf.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if Vero really can compete. And do so without the support of advertising dollars. That said Vero does have a chance of surviving if it continues to position itself as a premium, consumer-centric social network.
Therefore, as obvious as it may sound, brands should keep an eye on the performance of Vero, but not invest in it just yet. Then, if numbers continue to increase, it could warrant being added to a brands social media strategy. And to be seen as something to be used alongside Instagram, not instead of.
One to watch, and to play with. We’ve enjoyed our short time with it so far.
Until next time…