In February, 3yr old social media app Vero caused a stir by suddenly growing its user base from 150,000 to more than 3 million users within the space of the month. For businesses and institutions looking to leverage digital platforms to distribute their communications, figures like this can make for an alluring proposition.
But what does the Vero story, which has found its way into the global business and consumer press in recent weeks, really tell us about the current state of the social media sector today?
There was a time when emerging media, tech, or social platforms were making their way into the headlines every week. But in 2018 the real reminder from the Vero story is just how sparse these growth trends have become. It’s no secret that Snapchat for example, which really provided the previous social craze to hit the headlines, has failed to dazzle investors since launching its IPO at the beginning of last year. What we see instead is an increasingly settled social media landscape. Vero proves that high growth figures are still possible, but the social media sector is no longer an industry in its infancy. Facebook alone now commands more than 2.2bn global users, and the established players, like the more traditional media sectors of magazines and television, are here to stay.
Focus on quality
One of the things that sets Vero apart from some of its competitors, is its primary focus on a high-quality user experience. The app is delivered to eyeballs in an uncluttered fashion, and the timeline it serves is chronological. This last point is important because in 2016 Instagram switched to a ranked feed, meaning it began to prioritise popular posts rather than showing content in chronological order. The response against this change has been growing in recent months, and in many ways the adoption of Vero can be seen as a means of replacing this lost functionality. As Facebook itself grapples with the prioritisation of ‘meaningful social interactions’ over sponsored posts, it’s a timely reminder that delivering a clear, user-friendly experience is key across all sectors of business.
Not for marketers
An additional USP of the Vero social media app is that it provides users with an advertising free environment. However, this hasn’t stopped countless global articles being written on the subject of marketing on the platform, with over 300,000 results for ‘Vero marketing’ showing up on Google News at the time of writing. Businesses and brands, as well as the agencies that represent them, must remember the basic tenet of: ‘the right tool for the right job’. Just because a specific media platform shows impressive growth doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be right for marketing your brand. In the digital age a balanced approach to communications still applies, and it’s a case of applying the right messaging, to the right platforms and in the right ratios, to achieve communications success.
Ultimately, Vero has shown us that swift and significant growth is still possible in a digital ecosphere that was once synonymous with this kind of story. But equally it offers a timely reminder not to simply jump onto the latest social media trend just because it is there. A measured approach to the platforms you use is almost as important as the communications you put out, if you are to take a professional approach towards increasing brand awareness, direct response, and ROI.