I call 2014 the “Year of the Ephemeral Networks“. We had a glimpse of this back in 2013 with Snapchat, Whisper, and ultimately Bitcoin too (in concept). On the cusp of 2014 we already have a new player to set the example: Jelly, a new service from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. The concept is pretty simple: you can use images and text to ask questions; after you’ve connected your Twitter and/or Facebook account, your questions are then sent to people you’re already connected with on these platforms.
This video from Jelly describes it perfectly:
[vimeo clip_id=83478484 ]
Think of Jelly as a human-powered search engine.
There are so many ways you could use this. For instance, imagine being on holiday somewhere foreign and needing some quick translation help: http://jelly.co/a/3ce36
If this concept sounds familiar, then it’s probably because you’ve heard it before: Aardvark. Aardvark was a “social search engine” devised to ask people questions to get answers. Just like Jelly. However, it didn’t live long – it launched in 2008, got acquired by Google (for $50 million) in 2010, and got discontinued (by Google) in 2011.
Brands + Jelly = ?
The opportunities are endless for brands on Jelly, from market research to A/B testing (e.g. testing visuals such as ads, campaign media and logos among a small but influential pool of people), and much more.
The great thing about Jelly is that it gives brands an opportunity to receive fast consumer feedback. Granted, Twitter is there for that, and you can ask your Twitter followers for consumer feedback. However, you’ll only get that feedback from people who are viewing their Twitter stream around the same time you’re posting, and from people who regularly follow your account for updates (e.g. your brand advocates, people who have saved you in Twitter lists they regularly follow).
When you post on Jelly, everyone who follows you on Twitter AND has a Jelly account WILL receive your question in their inbox. While the majority of your followers won’t be on Twitter at the same time of you posting, you have a higher chance of receiving a response by tapping into a number of your followers’ inboxes.
It’s also Twitter friendly, as it embeds perfectly, giving you a bigger estate on your followers’ timelines:
Unfortunately, Facebook Pages aren’t supported, so brands would only be able to use Jelly with with one Twitter account.
Another advantage that brands have on Jelly is virality: both questions and answers can quickly spread across your followers and their friends, thus increasing your reach.
As always, it’s great to see these brands adopting new platform so quickly. However, early adoption doesn’t work for everybody, and marketers should realise that Jelly MIGHT not be the right platform for their brands, especially if:
- You’re currently going through a PR disaster or you’re having issues with your brand perception, in which case forcing your way into your followers’ Jelly inboxes probably isn’t the best answer;
- You require strict moderation options, as Jelly currently doesn’t provide that: there’s no way to reply to answers to your questions, and you can’t remove answers that you don’t wan’t appearing under your question (the only moderation you can perform is flagging the answer as inappropriate, or tap on “don’t like”). If you need stricter (or just more) moderation options, you might want to hold off for now.
Brands using Jelly
We already have a few brands using Jelly, leading by example. One of the very first ones was General Electric, known for being an early adopter of new platforms and new technologies. Besides General Electric, we also have fashion designer Kenneth Cole, charity organisation Livestrong, UK retailer Asda…
— Asda (@asda) January 9, 2014
…and a few more.
Besides the obvious question-and-answer scenario, there could also be a lot of niche uses for Jelly, and I’m looking forward to seeing brands doing this.