Was the rise of Vero worth all the hype?

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We think not
By Ale MIddleton, staffer. 3 May, 2018
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In a social media world dominated by the big players, last month saw a new alternative making waves around the world. Attracting a user-base of around 3 million and growing rapidly by the day, Vero promised an enticing experience of ad-free and algorithm-free feeds. Enticing yes, but has it really proven to be the game-changer media reports claimed it to be?

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One month down the track from its sudden spurt – we take a look at what the app is, why it suddenly was the flavour of the month, and whether or not it has long-term sustainability.

Why Vero

Contenders trying to fight the giants over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is nothing new. We’ve previously seen attempts from the likes of Ello, Peach and Sarahah – and indeed, Vero itself has been around since 2015. But as more discontent arises in the world of social media, thanks to recent privacy breaches by Facebook - alongside constant algorithm changes and ad games - people’s love for Facebook and Instagram has begun to wane, thus opening up a door for competitors.

How Vero works

Vero is somewhat of a blend of existing social media offerings like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Users are able to share photos like Instagram, as well as links, articles, songs etc – similar to Facebook and Twitter. “Vero is similar to Instagram, but also allows for text and links to be part of the posts,” explains The Dubs social media director, Andrew Frith. The app allows finance brands to “post content that promotes more in-depth content articles and videos with links back to their branded content blogs and content hubs.”

Why now

What began as a few major influencers using their profiles across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to announce they were giving Vero a go soon trickled down to the masses – with influencers from the macro to the micro desperate not to be left behind if this was going to be the NEXT BIG THING. App sign-ups went gangbuster. For a week, it was all anyone could talk about. Everyone was using their social media presence to inform audiences of their move to Vero – encouraging them to follow suit… and they took the bait.

And so, is Vero the next big thing?

In short, no. Just as we saw Ello’s servers not being able to cope with the sudden influx of users back in 2014, neither could Vero’s. Users were left discontent as slow loading times, crashes and technical difficulties hindered their experience. That and the discovery that the founder behind the app - Ayman Hariri - has a rather shady past saw people deleting the app just as quickly as they had downloaded it. The truth is, Vero went from hero to zero at a rapid pace.

The verdict

So what does this new platform mean for finance brands? While a new platform does mean a new touch point to reach increased potential audiences - and the potential of a platform with less competition, less distrust, and the opportunity for a fresh open relationship - we don’t think Vero is the shiny answer we were all hoping for. But it hasn’t been for nothing. Don’t think Facebook and Instagram didn’t notice people were leaving them in droves – be it only for a small amount of time.

Since the “Vero incident”, both Facebook and Instagram have been rolling out a range of measures to ensure consumer discontent is addressed. While we don’t have chronological feeds, feeds now have a more timely element to them (meaning you won’t see posts from three weeks ago at the top of your news feed). They’ve also cracked down on privacy, which has brought with it both positives and negatives (but that’s an article for another day), and the visibility of brands’ posts.

While a new platform does mean a new touch point to reach increased potential audiences, we don’t think Vero is the shiny answer people were hoping for.

Lessons learnt

While Vero might not have succeeded it did show us that audiences are fickle and quick to jump ship. If that happens, you need to have a strong enough connection with your followers that if you decide to also jump ship, they are willing to follow you to your next platform. Now, more than ever, content needs to be engaging with audiences. Social media allows both small and big corporations to directly tap into their customers, addressing their needs, concerns and desires. It’s a level playing field – you just need to be playing the right game.

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A traditionally trained journalist, Ale has spent the bulk of her career designing and executing content marketing strategies for organisations in the financial services, HR, and health and fitness industries. As well as driving strategies that deliver on business objectives, Ale can produce stand out print, digital and video content. A content marketer by day, Ale lives a decadent life as a bar and restaurant reviewer by night.