Vero. My predictions.
So, if you've been on Instagram or any digital publisher that talks about social media, pop culture, or technology - you've probably heard about Vero. For those of you who haven't...
Vero describes themselves as: "a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life."
Essentially, they are taking a stab at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for putting in algorithms and taking away the chronological feed we all started with years ago. But those of you who are saavy enough to know that social media needs to make money, you question must be - no advertisements, no business boosts? How are they going to make money?
Vero is giving their first 1-million users a free account, after that - tough luck. Essentially, you're paying for the service, just like you would a Kardashian App or any other subscription app. They are differentiating themselves by calling their users 'customers'.
Last night I signed up for an account, got in the exclusive 1-million free accounts, and clicked around. With my limited knowledge - here are my predictions.
DISCLAIMER: I will probably be wrong, I'll probably be right, this is just all in good fun and my early-days opinion on the platform.
Early Adapters are Small Businesses
You know that 1-million new users? I bet you the roster is filled with small businesses, writers, authors, musicians, etc. Why? Because they NEED social media to survive. So a new channel that comes along and gains a little hype seems like an opportunity they need to jump onto. Problem with this? Will the normal run-of-the-mill social media user, who has no self-promoting use for a social media account really pay a subscription fee? My assumption, no, they won't.
Being a Customer of Social Media Isn't As Sexy
We all complain about social media. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Instagram changed their algorithm, Facebook is expensive. Fake news. Too many pictures of babies. Etc. Etc. But are those complaits really carrying weight heavy enough to make us abandon ship and become a paying customer of social? I don't think people care enough to pay to get rid of these social media annoyances that come along with being an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter user.
Is it sustainable?
This is what I think is pretty smart, if they can pull it off. If users do quite literally buy-in to the platform, it could be a pretty well-turning machine. They don't have algorithms, advertisers, and the big-time administration hurdles that other platforms will deal with. Once the app is perfected, it should ultimately become a wheel day-in-and-day-out requiring little manpower to run it, and few to tweak, maintain, and improve it.
My overall prediction? Short-lived, and fun while it lasts.
I'm assuming they'll grab some celebrity endorsements (some of which they already have) and flashy marketing campaigns. It'll be a classic viral campaign, and like many viral campaigns, it'll lose speed and plateau somewhere small. I don't see this being the social platform that takes over the Facebook group, or Youtube and Pinterest.
Change is hard, people don't like it, and especially not if they have to pay for it. Social media is viewed as information about our friends and family, because of that users would never associate getting that information from friends and family for a fee. Or at least in my opinion.
I'm excited to see where it goes, how it builds, and keep and eye on it for my clients. Vero is currently advertising that they will be allowing businesses to add direct links to products and shopping experiences within the app, which could be interesting for the right brand. I see this as the hipster social media, with a level of exclusivity that makes it's users feel special and proud, but not valued by the masses.
Like mentioned above, Vero claims they are "a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life." But what is ironic is that you're expected to pay for that control. Hmm... seems a bit, confusing, doesn't it?