Ah, Vero, that was fun for a hot second. Don’t worry if you missed the boat, it didn’t take long for the milkshake duck effect to take hold.
Wait, what? What’s Vero?
A new social media channel that basically advertises itself as Instagram without the algorithm.
The premise was interesting as far as Facebook/Instagram competitors go. They were promising no ads in exchange for a subscription fee. In order for brands to sell on Vero, they’d pay transaction fees for successful sales. All content was presented in reverse chronological order – y’know, like Facebook and Instagram before the algorithms.
Ugh, the algorithm.
Honestly, I don’t mind the concept of algorithms with Facebook and Instagram. I prefer no algorithm, but they’re streamlining content so you see what is most relevant to you. There is more content being generated on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube than people can keep up with, hence, the algorithm.
The algorithm is flawed. You see pages on Facebook and Instagram trying to game it all the time. Meme pages sharing static images as videos telling you to tag your mates cos chicken nuggets. That sort of content on Facebook is drowning out all other content and half the time you’re missing things like people getting engaged or having a baby.
Organic Instagram reach is at an all time low and if you don’t continuously engage with people you want to see content from, they disappear from your feed. Instagram used to encourage use of similar hashtags, now they shadow-ban you without warning for using the same ones or ones associated with questionable content.
So that’s where Vero came in?
Yeah, and I liked some of the elements that Vero brought to the table. Here’s specifically what I liked:
Streamlining content for different audiences
I liked the idea of having simple ways to show different audiences different content. You get this to a certain extent on Facebook where you can organise people with lists, but that gets complicated, plus you have to remember to change the lists you’re sharing with if you share content often.
Instagram is a shotgun approach where your content goes out to everyone (excluding people you’ve blocked and people you hide your stories from) unless you have a private account. I know people who manage a public facing account for sharing content and a private one for sharing personal stuff, and managing multiple accounts is a pain in the bum.
Here, it’s literally deciding how far out your content goes. Let’s say you’re in a pageant – you could share intimate details of pageant prep with your close friends and just say you’re excited for the pageant with your followers. Or maybe share exciting news, like an engagement or pregnancy with close friends and say nothing to anyone else until you’re ready to go public with it.
I like the concept of no advertisers
I’ve noticed the ad spaces on both Instagram and Facebook have increased, meaning I’m getting about double the ads I got before. The frustrating part about that is Facebook has tagged me as having interests that aren’t relevant to me.
For example, I keep getting plus sized clothing ads. This is obviously a problem because I’m not plus sized, but I follow a lot of plus sized fashion bloggers, both inside and outside of the vintage community. The thinking when you’re trying to tell a computer how to present ads is if someone is a fan of a plus sized blogger, then they must be plus sized, right? In this case the advertiser is wasting ad money on me and I’m not seeing relevant ads.
At this stage Vero isn’t charging people for their accounts. If people start to leave once the subscriptions kick in, they may have to look at an alternative form of revenue. Ideals are nice, but money talks. Remember, Facebook and Instagram were ad-free once.
Plus if you’re allowing brands on Vero who are selling stuff, who’s to say their content won’t get annoying and ad-like?
What didn’t you like?
Holy moly the app was buggy. For a week, my profile picture wouldn’t register properly. I’d go to people’s profiles and the screen would scroll up and down on its own if I scrolled to a mid-point in their feed. Once I left the app open to see how long it would take to boot up and it took over two minutes to start up. Sometimes I plain old couldn’t post anything. And it kept logging me out at random intervals!
And don’t tell me that they were overwhelmed and didn’t expect a sudden uptick in traffic. I get that sudden popularity is hard, but if you promise your first million users a free subscription for life, you’d better be prepared to handle the traffic of one million users. If you’re aiming at stealing Facebook and Instagram’s audience, you’d better be ready to actually handle that audience.
“When you come at the king, you’d best not miss”
Finally, deleting your account is an ordeal
It’s not as simple as hitting a big old button that says “delete your account”, so I’ll walk you through it step by step.
How to delete your Vero account
1. Log in to Vero
2. Tap on your profile/dashboard
3. Hit the little (?) to the top left of your screen
4. Under “Who would you like to contact?”, click the drop down box and select “delete my account”
5. Submit your form
6. You’ll receive an email saying they’re received the request to delete your account
So, a couple of things. Firstly, most “delete my account” buttons are in the settings. Why have Vero hidden them in such an obscure place?
Secondly, why do I have to submit a request? Most other social networks just let you delete your account which will reactivate if you try logging back in. Why did they make it so manual?
I think Vero is an interesting concept, but I personally can’t support it moving forward. I’m hoping its sudden rise in popularity will make Facebook and Instagram realise there’s an audience wanting change in their apps/channels and that maybe some of the more unpopular issues will be addressed in the near future.
I will be deleting my Vero account not long after I publish this blog post. So what are your thoughts? Did you give Vero a go or did you give it a miss?
Lots of love,
Mrs Greatnews x