If you’re ever on Facebook (and who isn’t?), you’ve probably noticed new social video applications popping up over the past month – Socialcam and Viddy. Many are describing the applications as an Instagram for videos, as you can record a brief moment of your life, add an artistic filter, and share it socially. Now I’m not a big fan of applications that require you to share your personal information in order to participate in the conversation, but it’s a business strategy, and it works. Both Socialcam and Viddy saw explosive user growth in April (Socialcam made headlines by adding over 40 million new users in just two weeks).
So which social video application should you be using? Both are backed by tens of millions of users and incredibly similar features and capabilities. Both integrate seamlessly with Facebook and other social applications. Based purely on popularity, Socialcam has the edge. Just last week it took the number one position on AppData charts (ousting Yahoo! Social Bar and CityVille), with Viddy in the fourth slot. But just because it’s the most used doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.
Over the last week or so, Socialcam has been getting hammered on blogs and message boards alike for “gaming Facebook.” Many claim that in late April, Socialcam started scraping and adding content from YouTube to its network, then leveraging highly attractive but misleading video titles on Facebook to draw new users in, leading to its sudden rise in popularity. To view the video, users must opt-in to the app, which, from that point forward, automatically shares every video the user watches with all of their friends. Others say that the application’s integration with Facebook’s Social Graph on April 24th was the main cause.
When we compare Socialcam and Viddy by Compete’s Daily Reach and Attention metrics, it appears that Socialcam started doing something different right around the 29th of April.
Unfortunately for Socialcam, it appears as though the popularity is fading nearly as quickly as it began. It has seen both metrics decrease by 56% and 60% week over week respectively. This could be the result of a deceptive growth strategy, or merely due to the nature of online application growth and retention, but one thing is for sure – the explosive growth is not sustainable.
Whichever social video application you choose to use, be aware that just by clicking social video links on Facebook and accepting their app, every video you watch moving forward is shared to your friends automatically – and for some, that can be embarrassing. While Socialcam has borne the brunt of the recent scrutiny, privacy concerns and vague social sharing practices are rampant among social applications (see social readers).
So what do you think about these types of viral growth strategies? Are you using a social video application now? If so, which one and why?
Eric Keating is the Vice President of Syndicated Products at Millward Brown Digital. When Eric isn't thinking about product development and digital marketing, he’s probably brewing beer, exploring with his wife and dog, or working on his home. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.