Vero was the biggest story in the world of social media this week.
A two-year-old social media app suddenly caught the world’s attention. How did this happen? What is Vero and should you care?
Although Vero isn’t technically a new app, what is new is the growing number of social media users complaining about updates to nearly all of the major social networks over the past several months.
Vero’s rise to the top of app charts this week essentially began in 2016 when Instagram stopped showing all posts in chronological order. Although this update had no impact on the network's growth which currently sits at 800 million monthly users, it was an update that many users are still unhappy about.
On top of this algorithm change came another commonality: advertising. The same formula that helped Facebook squash MySpace in the early 2000s and dominate the social media landscape has been applied to Instagram; Mimic the competition, build up a massive audience, then cash in with advertising—and lots of it.
The world of social media is unstable.
Facebook is currently paying the price for its advertising module. For the first time ever, Facebook’s users are in decline at the same time Snapchat’s redesign was met with a Change.org petition signed by over 1.2 million people. Snap Inc. responded to the backlash basically saying that its users will get used to it. Even Instagram has had issues with its Snapchat clone Stories and users’ feeds being bombarded with ads and posts attracting spammy comments.
The main reason people are still using these popular photo-sharing apps is because their friends are still using them and there’s no alternative. Once people figured out there’s a shiny new social media platform with no advertising and no algorithm, they started telling their friends, who then told their friends, and just like that—Vero was an overnight success.
So what is Vero?
Vero isn’t just a photo-sharing app. You can also post songs from iTunes, links, your location, and recommend movies, TV shows, and books.
“We created a social network that lets you be yourself,” Vero’s website states. “Hence the name Vero. Meaning Truth. We made our business model subscription based. Making our users our customers, not advertisers.”
Vero was initially planning on charging users to sign up after hitting the one million mark. The Verge reports the app is now closing in on three million users and will be providing updates on the start date and pricing options soon.
“We wanted to build something that stood for something beyond a gimmicky, one-feature thing,” Vero’s CEO Can Ayman Hariri said. “We wanted it to be an extension of how you want to express yourself.”
With 3 million users and growing, the app is definitely worth experimenting with. Ello, Meerkat, and Peach all prove that it’ll be hard for Hariri and his team to remain one of the most popular apps, but if there’s one key takeaway from Vero’s rise to the top of the charts, it’s that there’s a demand for something new.
Facebook has been scrambling to retain users. Snapchat’s re-design upset millions of their users. Will Vero be the app to take down Instagram as the most popular photo-sharing social network? Let’s give it another week and find out for sure, but the odds are definitely against it.