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The Power of Weak Ties. Top Trends of 2012: Social Video Apps (Warning: Seedy Content!) Continuing our review of the first half of 2012, we look at an emerging product type that became popular this year: social video apps.

Top Trends of 2012: Social Video Apps (Warning: Seedy Content!)

The two leading contenders are Socialcam and Viddy, each vying to be the breakout app. But at least one of those apps is using dubious seeding tactics to get ahead... After image sharing network Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April, attention turned to the same type of app - but for video. Essentially social video apps have the following characteristics: Mobile-based, just like Instagram. Who's Winning? While we recommended Viddy in May, the differences between it and Socialcam are minimal. However, Socialcam appears to be the most popular of the two apps right now. As you can see, AppData statistics show that Socialcam is currently nearly 5 times more popular than Viddy in terms of Monthly Active Users (MAU). Seedy Socialcam At the beginning of May, Viddy was actually more popular than Socialcam.

Socialcam did clean up some of its early trickiness. Customer development. The 7 Ways Dropbox Hacked Growth to Become a $4 Billion Company. Did you know Dropbox has spent very little on advertising, yet it is worth $4 billion?

The 7 Ways Dropbox Hacked Growth to Become a $4 Billion Company

What have they done that’s made their business so successful? They’ve implemented many growth hacks that we’ll discuss in this article. What’s a growth hack? Instead of using traditional advertising to “buy” each new customer, it’s possible to use growth hacks to acquire customers in ways that scale. In other words, the cost of acquiring each additional customer is much closer to $0. For example, one growth hack is to incentivize some of your current users to refer others. Dropbox has received many awards, including best overall startup for 2011 & the Webby for Best Services and Practices.

Here are some stats regarding Dropbox’s scale: Revenue reached about $116 million in 2012 and was expected to reach $200 million in 2013. Not many SaaS companies can reach that kind of growth in 4 years, with or without advertising. 1. Then: Now: The number of options on the homepage are limited. Takeaway: 2. 3. Link: Decline Of Reader Apps Likely Due To News Feed Changes, Shows Facebook Controls The Traffic Faucet. No, Facebook news reader apps aren’t declining because users suddenly got fed up with auto-sharing.

Decline Of Reader Apps Likely Due To News Feed Changes, Shows Facebook Controls The Traffic Faucet

The user loss is likely due to the transition to “trending articles”, a new way of surfacing recently read articles in the news feed that Facebook is testing. Update: The Washington Post confirms my hypothesis: “Social reader “collapse” is b/c of evolving FB modules. Before: “double-double,” 4-5 stories down in a list, w/ friend icon – drove growth.” Previously, Facebook had been driving huge numbers of installs and re-engagements to news reader apps with a “recently read articles” box that would often appear at the top of the news feed. But in mid-April following a massive reader app user count spike it replaced this with a redesigned “trending articles” box that shows fewer articles, and that seems to appear less prominently. What the these user count fluctuations really mean is that Facebook is in firm control of what apps and content types receive traffic from its news feed.

The Seven Principles You Need to Know to Build a Great Social Product. Social products are an interesting bird.

The Seven Principles You Need to Know to Build a Great Social Product

For even the most experienced product designer, social products prove an elusive lover. While there are many obvious truths in social products, there are also alot of ways to design them poorly. Especially when you are deep in the moment making pixel-level decisions trying to remember what’s important, things may not be so clear. The only magic I’ve found in designing compelling social products that have the best shot at breaking through the noise and capturing people’s time and money is in being extremely clear on how your social product meets a few key design principles. 1.

This isn’t touchy feely stuff. To successfully use the fleeting moments you have, you need to orchestrate everything under your control to work together seamlessly under a single brand with a single reason for existence. 2. It’s not always obvious upfront what should be your best in the world focus and enshrining the wrong thing can be a problem. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Game Mechanics: Sounds dry, actually fascinating. Attended a dynamite workshop this week on Gamification, run by Gabe Zichermann.

Game Mechanics: Sounds dry, actually fascinating.

He’s written a book on it, is consulting for Google about it, and is doing a video and another book on the topic for O’Reilly, the well-regarded tech publishing house (responsible for my beloved Head First HTML/CSS book, highly recommended to anyone looking for a basic primer on website building blocks). The workshop was on game mechanics. Now, I am not a big video/computer game fan. When I first encountered this topic, it sounded pretty dry and irrelevant: “I’m not building a game,” I thought, “so I can’t see how this will be of much interest.” Wrong! Engaging users, ey? Gabe’s idea is that most of consumer software is headed this way, and while we know about the white-hot growth of Zynga, an actual gaming company, and are familiar with the badges and game-like experience of Foursquare, Gabe contends that non-game sites like Facebook and Twitter have used gaming elements to great effect as well.

In search of the perfect viral social app - Laurent Kretz on Posterous. Viral Cycle Time. Another often overlooked viral loop concept is cycle time.

Viral Cycle Time

That's the average time it takes to complete one loop, e.g. the cycle from sending out an invite to the person who was invited sending out an invite. In other words, Viral cycle time is the wavelength of viral loops. It's often overlooked (at least initially) because the focus is usually on just getting exponential. Like anything, though, there are opportunities to optimize. For example, if your viral loop is based on email (often is), you can send out varying kinds of reminders at opportune times. Another way to optimize is to shorten the times between sign up and invite, e.g. by making it part of the process and/or by making it accessible from every page.

Cycle times are pretty important in other areas too. Eight Ways To Go Viral. Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, the company behind Base—a simple CRM for small businesses What do Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Dropbox and Skype have in common?

Eight Ways To Go Viral

Except for being ridiculously successful, they all enjoyed a strong viral effect that helped accelerate their growth. How did they do that? Here’s the thing; most people assume that these companies grew by pure word of mouth. Well, that’s only half of the story. Let me explain. The Eight Types of Virality Many entrepreneurs struggle with the question: “How can I make my product more viral?” 1. The type of virality you’ll die for. Product unless other people use it as well. Seeding, which means getting the first people on board is very hard because of Metcalf’s Law (there’s very low value for the first users of the product). 2. In this type of virality, a person will benefit from using the product individually. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Measuring Virality. 9 Ways To Make Your Startup Grow Virally. Vinicius Vacanti is co-founder and CEO of Yipit.

9 Ways To Make Your Startup Grow Virally

Next posts on how to acquire users for free and how to raise a Series A. Don’t miss them by subscribing via email or via twitter. If you want your start-up to become the next big thing, it’s not good enough to just build a great product. Unless you can afford to buy users, you’ll have to grow virally. The difference between getting one of your new users to convince one friend to sign up and that person getting two new friends, is huge. Below are 9 ways your start-up can grow virally: Get Your Users to Spread the Word Get users to tell others about your app simply by using it. Get users to push content they create on your app to Facebook, Twitter. Increasing Conversion Adjust your product to become more mainstream. Conclusion Building a great product is only half the battle. How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way. On Thanksgiving, Pinterest’s co-founder Ben Silbermann sent an email to his entire user base saying thanks.

How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way

It was fitting, as Pinterest was born two years ago on Thanksgiving day 2009. Ben had been working on a website with a few friends, and his girlfriend came up with the name while they were watching TV. Pinterest officially launched to the world 4 months later. Some startups go crazy with hype and users right after launch. And some don’t. Take a look at Pinterest’s one-year traffic on Compete from Oct 2010 to Oct 2011, which is the picture in this post, and shows Pinterest rising from 40,000 to 3.2 million monthly unique visitors. Backing out of Compete’s numbers, we see Pinterest grew about 50% month over month from a base of zero since its inception (on average, smoothing the curve).

Note these numbers are approximations and also do not count the significant traffic the service sees from mobile (Pinterest’s app currently takes the #6 social spot in the iTunes store). Did Path Cheat Its Way to The Top? The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Facebook and Twitter Social Networks. It’s important to know when the highest percentage of your audience is eavesdropping on your social networks—so that when you share content you’ll get maximum exposure.

The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Facebook and Twitter Social Networks

Use the following data to learn when your audience is most likely to tune in. Be sure to check in with us next week when we discuss timing & email marketing. Data courtesy of Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella) and HubSpot. Content available as a webinar by Dan Zarrella here. View an enlarged version of this Infographic » Click here to download a .pdf version of this infographic. View the other Science of Social Timing Infographics Facts and Stats to Tweet: 5PM Eastern Time is the best time to tweet. »tweet«The best tweeting frequency is 1 to 4 tweets per hour. »tweet«Saturday is the best day to share content on Facebook. »tweet«Noon Eastern Time is the best time of the day to share content on Facebook. »tweet«The best sharing frequency on Facebook is .5 posts per day. »tweet«