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Vero App: what publishers need to know, and why GQ has partnered with it

Do publishers need yet another social network to follow and post on? Apparently GQ does. Whether this is GQ’s play to remain current and ‘on trend’ with Gen Z audiences is a moot point, but when the world’s leading men’s publication partners with a new social media app, it’s worth investigating further.

What is Vero?

Launched in 2015, Vero is a photo and link-sharing social media app that gained rapid notoriety early this year when it began offering free services for life for its first one million customers. This led to a surge in new users, with the app going viral and reaching the top spot on Apple’s App Store. Cue a crash in the company’s servers and a user outcry before the app had gained any significant traction – at least enough to take on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat et al.

Vero prides itself on being the next evolution in social media, empowering Gen Z and Millennials to ‘take back control of their lives’ promising no annoying algorithms, advertising or data privacy issues.

Vero prides itself on being the next evolution in social media, empowering Gen Z and Millennials to ‘take back control of their lives’ promising no annoying algorithms, advertising or data privacy issues.

This, of course, has led to closer scrutiny, which in turn created a second controversy as users read the finer print of Vero’s Ts & Cs – these terms informed users that brands would indeed be able to buy advertising space whilst the privacy promise was vague at best. For an app whose name is based on the Latin word for ‘truth’, the discoveries hardly built user confidence. 

Fast forward to Sept 2018 and the next-gen social media platform has carved out its own (small) niche as a sort of upgraded MySpace for Silicon Roundabout hipsters, cool Indie bands and Casey Neistat wannabees.

You can watch an intro video here:

GQ and Vero partner up

Dipping its toes in the waters, Condé Nast’s GQ officially partnered with Vero in late 2017 to bring specially commissioned content to GQ’s own Vero channel, with a focus on music and its related culture.

The results have raised eyebrows. During the past nine months, GQ’s audience on Vero has grown from a couple of thousand followers to 77,000. GQ itself has become an authority on the app, sharing exclusive content from GQ Editors and high-profile talent as well as book, music, film and place recommendations (all of which are fully searchable).

Two weeks ago the two companies deepened their relationship further to honour an emerging musician at GQ’s Annual Men of the Year Award, creating the ‘Vero Breakthrough Solo Artist of the Year Award’. The eventual winner was Jorja Smith, the English R&B singer/songwriter who this week chose Nordoff Robbins to be the recipient of Vero’s $50,000 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Speaking to FIPP last year, Vanessa Kingori of British Vogue said that partnerships like British GQ’s with Vero are important, saying, “They are an organic way of building GQ’s audience and continue to reinforce GQ’s move from a magazine brand to a multimedia brand adaptable across many platforms,” she explained. “It’s vital that we continue to share this message with the right partners such as Vero.”

It’s a great way for newer brands to build profile and community, Kingori added, “GQ’s brand endorsing power is second to none. Projects such as these borrow the long-established trust in GQ to boost synergistic collaborations.”

What next? And should other publishers wade in?

Time will tell whether Vero reaches the critical mass essential for it to survive or whether it follows other next gen social media platforms like Peach, Diaspora, Ello and Mastadon into obscurity. Social media, after all, is dependent on its volume of users.

In addition, for publishers already stretched to breaking point, to monitor and manage yet another social platform might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unless of course, like Condé Nast, you have deep pockets.

For these reasons listed above, for now, it might be worth just keeping a tab on GQ’s progress and seeing whether it extends its contract with Vero beyond 2018. That will be as good as any other measure….

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