Sure, Facebook and Instagram are thriving. So whenever there’s talk about new platforms, one can’t help but be a little skeptical. Mainly because the social media landscape is riddled with once-thriving social networks. Does anyone remember Myspace, Friendster, Ello and Google Plus? But this year there’s a new game in town. Welcome to the scene, Vero, or as they’ve deemed themselves, “True Social”. In Vero’s manifesto, they claim to offer a more “authentic” experience. Here’s how: the main difference between Vero and other social media sites is that their posts actually appear in chronological order – um, can you bring that back Instagram? In fact, the chronological order feature is something that Instagram AND Facebook have been determined to avoid. Despite the pleas of the majority of its users.
Is Vero the wave of the future?
As of February 27, Vero was ranked the no. 1 social media app on iTunes. But before you think Vero is all rainbows and unicorns… it is a subscription-based social network. However, there are offering free Vero for a lifetime to the first million people to sign up – which might be the reason as to why they have such a high rating on iTunes. So if you show up to the party late, you’ll pay a “small annual fee” to sign up. Subscriptions might sound annoying, but for Vero, it really plays to the heart of their concept – which is focusing on users as customers “not the product we sell to advertisers”.
On Vero’s site, they explain that the “subscription model will allow us to keep Vero advertising-free, and to focus solely on delivering the best social experience instead of trying to find new ways to monetize our users’ behavior or tricking them back into the app with notifications.” Sounds good, huh?
A Few Technical Difficulties
So far, it’s user base has grown seemingly overnight. People have posted to their Instagram stories that they trying it just to see where it goes. Vero has had such a surge in new users that it has caused some new users to experience difficulties in actually getting the app to work. However, Vero has been working on the issue. On February 25th they tweeted, “We’re experiencing an outage due to heavy load. Apologies again for the issues we’re having. We’re working to restore things. We really appreciate your patience.”
As for Vero’s user experience, once they DO get it to work, the site gives users the ability to categorize “connections” with the straight-from-Myspace option of “close friend”, “friend”, “acquaintance”, or “follower”. There are even hashtags to be enjoyed and visual essays. There’s even a feature that lets users post books, movies, and TV shows they enjoy. Which means there a lot of chances to genuinely connect with others.
But should brands join in?
You might be wondering, what about brands and companies – can they post on Vero? Yes, but there’s a catch. However, the real question is, is it worth investing time and money into marketing on Vero? Will it fizzle out or not? And if it does remain popular, how can communicators use the app’s design to their advantage? Here are two of Vero’s features that might help you answer those questions:
Falling in line with Vero’s manifesto to offer a “more authentic” platform, the app hopes to stay ad-free. Which is where the annual fee comes in for users who sign up after the first million. It’s also worth noting that most of the major social platforms out there touted the same no-ads promise in the beginning. So, it is possible that Vero might change their tune in the future. Another thing to mention is that Vero doesn’t provide information on its users to ANY third parties either, which could be a major pitfall for brands.
However, companies are still welcome to create accounts and post content with external links. Surprisingly, this feature ISN’T allowed on Instagram, so it might just work. Brands are also able to pay extra for a “Buy Now” button. BUT Vero will take a cut of any sales that come through their app. Since Vero’s main selling point seems to be a social media platform where people can be their true selves, influencers might want to steer clear of any type marketing language. It will definitely be a better way to actually connect with followers.
This is the BIGGEST difference that seems to be drawing users to Vero. Unlike other platforms (I’m looking at you Facebook and Instagram) Vero doesn’t use an algorithm to push posts based on popularity. Everything is shown in reverse chronological order, which has attracted a lot of micro-influencers and smaller companies that have found their content overshadowed by larger brands.
Communicators have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this by posting more frequently than they might on other platforms. It’ll work because followers will see ALL of the content based on the time it was posted and not because the post got the most likes or shares.
As of now, Vero seems to be struggling to keep up with the flood of new users, but if they can get those servers working could the really prove to be a huge competitor of Instagram and Facebook? Forbes contributor Paul Armstrong points out that “it’s all [been] seen before. Advertising is a necessary evil and without it—even with a firm subscription model—anything is unlikely to do anything other than burn money.” So maybe the question isn’t whether or not Vero can endure, but whether it can survive long enough without adjusting its business model.
The bottom line SO FAR is that brands shouldn’t start moving their dollars and time from Instagram to Vero just yet. Instagram is a solid platform, that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon – even with the complaints about its algorithm. But you should definitely keep your eyes peeled on Vero’s performance in the coming months. Because IF the current numbers mean anything, it just might benefit brands to add the app to their social media arsenal in the near future.
So, what do you think about Vero? Will you be checking it out or waiting to see what happens? Let us know in the comments below, so we can discuss.