What Happened: Ello is a new social networking project that exploded in popularity over the past two weeks. According to its founder, the network launched in beta Aug. 9 with 90 users and has averaged 31,000 signups per hour since. For now, Ello has attracted designers, journalists and the earliest adopters of consumer technology, remaining unknown to the general public – users can currently request an invite to sign up and be placed on a waiting list. The site claims it will be profitable without selling user data, has many referring to the site as the “anti-Facebook” – making it attractive to the ever-growing number of privacy-concerned and marketing-avert consumers. Ello’s big PR push was timed perfectly with Facebook’s announcement about restrictions to only using “real names,” targeted at the LBGTQ community, and its announcement that it would incorporate users’ data in serving and measuring ads outside of Facebook.
What This Means for Brands: Marketing and advertising experts have already reported that Ello could be the “next big thing” and are encouraging brands to test out the site. However, Ello’s future as the next big social network is not certain. People aren’t leaving their Facebook accounts to switch to Ello. The site is appealing to the end-user (and seems like a breath of fresh air when compared the noise on Facebook). However, the functions of the site are not intuitive, so unless you’re a tech-savvy user, it would likely be more difficult for you to use the site, which could lead to many demographics shying away from the platform entirely. Additionally, the bottom line of the site is to be ad-free. It is apparent that consumers are attracted to the platform for this reason and will be highly unaccepting of brands trying to market products on the site. Advertising on an anti-advertising platform will be tricky. For now, sign up to observe, and let early adopter brands take the (anticipated) heat.
Contributing to Trending: Lucy Arnold, Chau Nguyen, Lauren Kostenberger, Kristin Johansen