Digital Dash: Vero vs. Instagram & more

1. Heard of Vero? It’s the ad-free social network enjoying mega hype right now
2. Link clicks are estimated? Facebook comes clean on calculations
3. Snapchat redesign uproar has unexpected side effect
4. Look out, LinkedIn – Facebook’s job listings feature is going global
5. YouTube live video gets four exciting new features


1. Heard of Vero? It’s the ad-free social network enjoying mega hype right now

I’m always a little sceptical when a social network hits the headlines all of a sudden, heralded as the next big thing.

Rarely does all the excitement lead to a company that’s genuinely a competitor to the major players.

The social network everyone’s talking about right now is Vero. While actually launched back in 2015, Vero has only become a big deal recently.

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It’s an image-focused platform, similar in terms of its visual focus and layout to Instagram but different in the following key ways:

  • You can share a whole range of media types, including: photos, links, music, movies, books and places
  • You can easily restrict your post’s visibility to: close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers
  • There are no ads, no algorithms and no data collection

The last point is the most crucial.

Vero is hoping to attract users who have privacy concerns, want to be more in control of their experience, are sick of ads, or all of the above.

And there are lots of people out there who could be lured in on that basis.

The problem is, if no revenue is being generated from advertising, it has to come from somewhere else. In Vero’s case, it will (in future) come from a small subscription fee and commission on social sales.

At the moment, the charges are just a dot on the horizon. Not enough to worry users – the number of which has already surpassed the million mark (the initial ‘free for life’ offer cap, now extended).

Vero_subscribeBut when it comes down to actually parting with cold hard cash, it will likely be the case that ads and algorithms suddenly don’t seem so bad anymore.

And users’ reluctance to become the revenue stream might well be Vero’s downfall.

Of course, without ads, you also miss out on a load of content and product suggestions tailored to your preferences.

Maybe Instagram shouldn’t worry just yet.


2. Link clicks are estimated? Facebook comes clean on calculations

Facebook loves a casual confession.

It was only a few weeks back when it let everyone know that it would be changing the way organic reach is calculated – restricting it to when a post had actually entered a user’s News Feed as opposed to just being officially ‘placed’.

It was framed as a positive tweak that would help marketers. But hang on… surely it should have always been calculated that way? Did anyone even realise it wasn’t?

This week brings another example.

Facebook revealed in a blog post that it will begin marking metrics calculated based on sampling or modelling as ‘estimated’.

Facebook_estimated metricsIncluded in the list are some non-shockers, such as:

  • Reach
  • Frequency

And some total shockers, such as:

  • Amount spent
  • Link clicks

Knowing these bottom two were never fully accurate is kind of… alarming. But at least more clarity is coming, I guess.

Also mentioned in the blog post was the ‘in development’ tag, which will appear next to metrics that are new or in testing.


3. Snapchat redesign uproar has unexpected side effect

The old saying goes that all publicity is good publicity.

While there are definitely some exceptions to that (Pepsi will fill you in), Snapchat has just proved how true it can be.

Last week, we reported how badly people had reacted to Snapchat’s recent redesign. At the time of writing, a petition that called for the old design to be reinstated had racked up over 1.2 million signatures. Snapchat even had to issue an official response, and things just weren’t going well in general.

A tweet from Kylie Jenner, which read: ‘sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad’ added a ton of fuel to the negativity fire – contributing to a sharp drop in Snap Inc’s share price.

But guess what?

All the uproar has had an unexpected positive side effect. It caused a wave of curiosity, meaning US downloads of the app actually rose 41% in the week following the redesign’s rollout, as revealed by TechCrunch.

Snapchat also shot up the US App Store rankings, rising from #8 to #1.

In other good news for Snapchat, a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center (which surveyed 2,002 US adults about their social media use) has revealed that Snaphat (at 78% usage) is almost as popular as Facebook (at 80% usage) among 18-24 year olds.


4. Look out, LinkedIn – Facebook’s job listings feature is going global

LinkedIn isn’t going to be knocked off its professional perch anytime too soon. But could it happen? Maybe.

Facebook’s job postings and job applications feature, which arrived in the US last year, is rolling out to 40 new countries.

This means businesses can post job listings (as easily as publishing their regular content), manage applications, schedule interviews and send automated reminders.

Job listings don’t just appear on Pages but also in the Jobs dashboard, Marketplace and in News Feed.

Job seekers can search for jobs, apply for roles in minutes (with Facebook auto-completing application forms with profile information), and begin a Messenger conversation with businesses to confirm their application has been received.

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Since launching in the US, one in four people have either searched for or found a job using Facebook.

So how worried should LinkedIn be?

It’s hard to say right now.

Facebook clearly has the edge when it comes to user base and advertising capabilities. But its job features are focused on local businesses for now – and the informal nature of Facebook perhaps makes it more suited to this area of recruitment.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, has carved out a reputation as professional network for highly skilled candidates.

It could be the case that the two platforms continue to cater for different ends of the market.

Equally, I wouldn’t put it past Facebook to work hard to move into LinkedIn’s territory.


5. YouTube live video gets four exciting new features

Content creators are increasingly turning to live video to connect with fans and followers.

To make sure it doesn’t fall behind the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the original home of online video, YouTube, is beefing up its live video capabilities with the addition of four new features:

Live chat replays: you’ll now be able to follow the conversation, exactly as it happened, even after the live stream is over


Automatic captions (EN): YouTube will now offer live automatic captioning – which uses live automatic speech recognition (LASR) technology.

Location tagging: creators can add a location tag to their mobile live streams and video uploads. By clicking on a location tag, you can explore other video content taken in the same place.

IFTTT (If This, Then That Technology): Super Chat (the feature that lets you pay to have your live video comment highlighted) can now be linked to over 600 internet-connected devices (e.g. lights, pet feeders and confetti cannons). What this means is that certain Super Chat events could trigger a real life event via connected smart devices.