By Gram Bowsher
Yo: A two letter word with ambiguous origins and typically inconsequential meaning. Or is it not that simple? One of the newest trends in social media and mobile apps has been the rise of the app named after such a seemingly innocuous term. Giving users only the ability to send the word “Yo” to each other, the app has already received $1.2 million in investment and has risen to the number one in the iOS app store.
The fast rise of Yo was quickly followed by an influx of hack attempts, and when a group of college students hacked into Yo’s data and were able to attain user information, the fall of Yo began. Other users we able to hack the system, and according to this Forbes article, the once-faithful Yo-ers began deleting the app to avoid the influx of spam messages causing their phones to vibrate incessantly. While Yo’s creator, Or Arbel, states that the hole hackers were utilizing has been closed, users still left the service amidst all the noise.
When is a “yo” not a “yo?”
So, what can be learned from the rise and subsequent fall of Yo? What does the popularity of such simple context tell us about consumers, and what can we learn from the motivation behind their max exodus? I think a quote Arbel gave regarding the apps purpose is pretty telling. “If you think this is just an app that says ‘yo,’ you are getting it wrong,” Arbel told Mashable. “We are here to cut through the noise. We like to call it context-based messaging.”
Context: A word more than three times the length of “yo” that helps explain so much of its significance. Sending a “yo” isn’t just a way to bombard your friends or family with annoying notifications a la Facebook’s “poke” feature. A “yo” is about context. As that Forbes article explains, some users used Yo to just let a loved one know they were thinking about them. Others used it as a way to get the attention of someone in the other room.
Yo was even used to reengage the person who you had a dinner date with the night before and want to spend a little more time with. Regardless of the use, the context of the “yo” remains central. A “yo” doesn’t just mean “yo.”
It means “I love you.”
“Come over here.”
“Let’s do something.”
If context is so important, then, why did Yo-ers depart the app so quickly? Well, simply put, too much noise masks context. With so many notifications coming from the Yo spammers, any semblance of context was destroyed, replaced only by the voice of Arbel saying “Yo” over and over again with every new message. The very thing that made Yo worthwhile and meaningful was now gone, and users left with it. A “yo” without context was simply unintelligent noise.
Yo marketers! Listen up.
As marketers, there are a couple important lessons we can learn from Yo. The first is obvious: context is important. Whether it is where a product is used, the need-state of that usage, or the emotions associated with usage, context matters. To truly capture that context in our research, Ipsos Innoquest leverages mobile capabilities to understand consumers in the moment. Having consumers answer questions about a product as they’re using it allows us to understand those contextual factors that provide deeper meaning to something simple.
The second lesson to learn is that a lot of noise can make something simple, meaningless. Just as the noise of Yo spam ruined the context of those messages, the extra noise in market research can cloud insights and harm results. As Paul Crowe explained in a previous post on this blog, smart idea screening can help cut through that noise, saving you time and money in the process. Cutting through the “noise” associated with idea screening, concept testing, and product testing creates better, more meaningful data, which leads to better results for the client.
Yo may seem simple. I mean, it is just a two letter word. But sometimes there’s more to it than a simple definition. An app as simple as Yo can teach us a lot about consumers and research. If you have any questions or comments, just Yo me (or post in the comments below).
The post Yo: Is it really that simple? appeared first on Innovation Point of View.