Some people may call it a conspiracy if you haven’t heard of Ello yet. And maybe they’d be right. Ello is one of the biggest digital counter-cultures in social media format today. It’s the anti-thesis to Facebook, and it’s growing at a surprising rate. You’d be making the wrong decision if you chose to ignore it, but don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what Ello has to offer the digital marketer in all of us.
The interface is shockingly simple: round profile pictures shimmer as you hover over them while grey and white retro block typeface float above a black background. In the top left corner, a header reads, “Simple, beautiful & ad-free”. In just one quick look, we see what this new social network is all about. Their “Manifesto” is a little less vague, offers more insight and gives us the chance to dive deeper.
The take-away is this: Ello exists in response to the malpractice of other social networks and their affinity with third-party advertisers. Essentially, Ello’s manifesto reminds us that most mainstream social networks can track our online activity, save it as data and sell it to advertisers. Whereas Ello promises that they will “never make you into a product”.
Who is joining Ello?
Have you ever deleted your Facebook account? Or thought about it? Not everyone has the same reason for doing so, but many take issue with the same fact: they want their privacy back. No one wants their digital footprint auctioned off to marketers looking to get their content in front of more eyes.
So, who is joining Ello? Our guess is those who don’t want to play a part in the big game. And it’s not that they’re against all advertisement; they’re against advertising using algorithms to predict their movements.
The truth is that because Ello is still in beta form, we have yet to see where it’s headed or what it’s capable of. All we know is that it’s growing, and that it speaks to a sector of the population that takes its movements and purchasing power seriously.
What does Ello hold in store for digital marketers?
Ello promises never to host advertising on their website. Instead they make their income from t-shirt sales and investments in a future freemium version of the site. With that being so, is there any room for marketers? How can one grow traffic to their website using Ello?
Well, it won’t hurt anyone if you create an account. Once you’ve done that , you’ll see that Ello (aside from lacking all the bells and whistles) is not unlike other social networks. Right away you’re shown a list of featured users – which are really just random profiles that show up on your main page – whose walls are populated with stunning quality content. Simply put, Ello is one more place for you to hang your hat, create a profile, and show users who you are and what you do.
It may be safe to say that Ello attracts critical thinkers. It isn’t a place where you’d want to drop the same content you’d use for Facebook or Twitter. Ello is an exploration in artistry and free expression, hence the minimalistic interface. Most posts you’ll see are on the artistic side; displaying personal artwork, ideas on design or technology and large reposted images. What you won’t see is a lot of promotion. So while Facebook allows you to be overt in your calls to action, Ello may appreciate a softer approach. Perhaps Ello has created a form of brand awareness that speaks to a more thoughtful audience, one that chooses carefully and listens well. Cross your fingers that users connect the dots in a way that’ll let them trust your company’s intentions.
Check back later
In any case, whenever a new avenue opens up to a distinct crowd, marketers should, at the very least be curious. And that’s what we are now: curious. It may be too soon to tell but we feel good about ello. As things progress, you may want to return to this article to see what insights we’ve learned and discoveries we’ve made about ello along the way.
Header image by bryceJ on flickr, edited by Marqana. Embedded image is a screenshot from our ello page!
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